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ENGLISH    MARTYRS    BEATIFIED 
BY    POPE    LEO   XIII. 


QUARTERLY    SERIES.        ONE    HUNDRED    AND    FIRST    VOLUME. 


ROEHAMPTON : 
PKINTED    BY    JOHN    GRIFFIN. 


[All  rights  reserved.] 


LIVES   OF   THE 
ENGLISH     MARTYRS 

DECLARED  BLESSED  BY  POPE 

LEO     XIII.     IN     1886     AND     1895 


WRITTEN 

BY    FATHERS    OF    THE    ORATORY,    OF    THF 

SECULAR    CLERGY    AND    OK    THE    SOCIETY 

OF    JESUS. 

COMPLETED  AND  EDITED  BY 

DOM    BEDE    CAMM,    O.S.B. 

OF    KRDINGTON    ABBEY 


VOLUME     II. 

MARTYRS  UNDER  QUEEN  ELIZABETH 


IN   SBRVIS   SUIS 
CONSOLABITUR  DBUS 


Reissue 

LONGMANS,    GREEN    AND    CO. 

39  PATERNOSTER  ROW,  LONDON 

NEW  YORK,  BOMBAY    AND  CALCUTTA 

1914 

All  rights  reserved 


©bstat: 

FR.  JOANNES  CHAPMAN,  O.S.B., 

CENSOR    DEPUTATUS. 


Imprimatur : 

GULIELMUS   PRAEPOSITUS   JOHNSON 

VICARIUS    GENERALIS 

Westmonasterii, 

Die  22  Apr  His,  1905. 


First  published  by  Messrs.  Burns  and  Oates,  1905. 
Transferred  to  Messrs.  Longmans,  Green  and  Co.,  Jan.,  1914 


TABLE    OF    CONTENTS. 


INTRODUCTION. 

Page 

I.     Elizabeth's  Settlement  of  Religion  .  .  ix 

II.     Resistance  to  the  Settlement  of  Religion  by  the 
Crown  is  considered  Treason 

III.  The  Northern  Rising 

IV.  The  Excommunication 

V.     The  Martyrs  of  1570  to  1572  .  .          xvii 

VI.     Increase  of  Missionary  Zeal  and  of  Persecution 

in  1580  ....  xxii 

VII.     Reasons  for  the  Increase  of  Persecution    .  .         xxiii 

(a)  Sir  Francis  Walsingham  . 

(b)  Errors  of  Catholic  Politicians 

(c)  The  Fictitious  Papal  League  . 

(d)  Other  Reasons  .... 

VIII.  Persecution  at  its  height     .  .        xxvii 

IX.  The  Procedure  of  Martyrdom  .                         .       xxviii 

X.  Authorities  ...  .                    xxxix 

XI.  Writers  of  the  Present  Volume  xli 


vi  TABLE   OF   CONTENTS 


LIVES    OF   THE   MARTYRS. 

Page 

I.     B.  John  Felton,  Layman. 

St.  Paul's  Churchyard,  August  8,  1570  ...       i 

II.     B.  John  Storey,  Layman. 

Tyburn,  June  i,  1571   ...     14 

III.  BB.  Thomas  Percy  and  Thomas  Plumtree. 

Durham,  January  4,  1571,  and 

York,  August  22,  1572  ...   in 

IV.  B.  Thomas  Woodhouse,  Secular  Priest. 

London,  June  13,  1573  ...   186 

V.     B,    Cuthbert    Mayne,    Proto  -  Martyr    of    the 
Seminary  Priests. 

Launceston,  November  29,  1577  ...  204 

VI.     B.  John  Nelson,  Jesuit. 

Tyburn,  February  3,  1577-8  ...  223 

VII.     B.  Thomas  Sherwood,  Layman. 

Tyburn,  February  7,  1577-8  ...  234 

VIII.     B.  Everard  Hanse,  Secular  Priest. 

Tyburn,  July  31,  1581   ...  249 

IX.     B.  Edmund  Campion,  Jesuit. 

Tyburn,  December  i,  1581   ...  266 

X.     B.  Ralph  Sherwin,  Secular  Priest. 

Tyburn,  December  i,  1581   ...  358 

XI.     B.  Alexander  Briant,  Jesuit. 

Tyburn,  December  i,  1581   ...   397 

XII.     B.  John  Payne,  Secular  Priest. 

Chelmsford,  April  2,  1582  ...  424 

XIII.  B.  Thomas  Ford,  Secular  Priest. 

Tyburn,  May  28,  1582   ...  443 

XIV.  B.  John  Shert,  Secular  Priest. 

Tyburn,  May  28,  1582   ...  460 

XV.     B.  Robert  Johnson,  Secular  Priest. 

Tyburn,  May  28,  1582   ...  474 


TABLE   OF  CONTENTS 


Page 

XVI.     B.  William  Filby,  Secular  Priest. 

Tyburn,  May  30,  1582  ...  491 

XVII.     B.  Luke  Kirby,  Secular  Priest. 

Tyburn,  May  30,  1582   ...   500 

XVIII.     B.  Lawrence  Richardson  (vere  Johnson),  Secular 
Priest. 

Tyburn,  May  30,  1582   ...   523 

XIX.     B.  Thomas  Cottam,  Jesuit. 

Tyburn,  May  30,  1582  ...   536 

XX.     B.  William  Lacey,  Secular  Priest. 

York,  August  22,  1582   ...   564 

XXI.     B.  Richard  Kirkman,  Secular  Priest. 

York,  August  22,  1582   ...   578 

XXII.     B.  James  Thompson    (alias    Hudson),    Secular 
Priest. 

York,  November  28,  1582   ...  589 

XXIII.  B.  William  Hart,  Secular  Priest. 

York,  March  15,  1583  ...  Coo 

XXIV.  B.  Richard  Thirkdd,  Secular  Priest. 

York,  May  29,  1583  ...  635 


WRITERS  IN  THIS  VOLUME. 

ED Dom  BedeCamm,  O.S.B Nos.     I.,     II.,    VII., 

VIII.,  X.,  XIII., 
XXI.,  XXII., 

XXIII.,    XXIV. 

H.  S.  B.      ...     Father  Henry  Sebastian  Bowden,        No.  IX. 
Cong.  Orat. 

E.  S.  K.     ...     Father  Edward  S.  Keogh,  Cong.        Nos.  I.,  IV.,  V.,  VI., 
Orat.  VIII.,      X.,      XL, 

XII.,  XIII.,  XIV., 
XV.,  XVI.,  XVII., 
XVIII.,  XIX.,  XX. 

G.  E.  P.      ...     Father  George  E.  Phillips,  of       ...  No.  III. 
Ushaw  College. 

J.  H.  P.       ...     Father  John  H.  Pollen,  S.J Introduction,  Nos.  IV., 

IX.,  XL,  XVII., 
XIX. 


INTRODUCTION. 


THOUGH  the  Lives  of  the  martyrs  which  will  be 
found  in  the  ensuing  pages  are  told  with  a  fulness 
not  attempted  hitherto,  none  of  them  illustrate  the 
whole  period  of  the  struggle.  None  of  them,  therefore, 
explain  with  sufficient  clearness  the  origin,  nature, 
and  tendency  of  the  quarrel  in  which  the  martyrs 
lost  their  lives.  A  few  words  of  introduction  will 
therefore  be  required  to  elucidate  these  points,  and 
others  of  a  like  nature.  Why.  for  instance,  in  a 
religious  persecution  were  the  victims  indicted  for 
treason  ?  Why  were  such  absurd  charges  preferred 
against  the  martyrs,  and  why  were  they  believed 
and  brought  forward  again  and  again  ?  Before  we 
can  appreciate  the  heroism  of  the  martyrs'  deaths, 
we  must  find  a  solution  of  these  problems. 

Section  I.     Elizabeth's  Settlement  of  Religion. 

In  the  previous  volume  it  was  shown  that  the  Wars 
of  the  Roses  and  other  causes  had  led  to  a  very 
great  increase  in  the  power  of  the  Crown  at  the  cost 
of  the  other  estates  of  the  realm.  The  resolution  of 


INTRODUCTION 


King  Henry  to  marry  Anne  Boleyn  in  spite  of  all 
obstacles,  caused  a  violent  breach  with  the  Church, 
in  consequence  of  which  the  country  as  a  whole 
tamely  lapsed  into  schism.  Under  King  Edward  a 
further  step  downward  was  taken.  Heresy  was 
introduced  into  the  Court,  and  took  a  strong  hold 
on  the  large  towns  and  the  eastern  counties.  The 
Puritans,  to  use  a  name  which  came  into  use  later, 
thus  acquired  considerable,  though  not  a  command 
ing  power.  We  shall  find  them  the  prime  movers  of 
the  persecution,  influencing  the  legislature,  deter 
mining  the  administration  of  the  law,  and  clamouring 
round  the  gallows  for  the  blood  of -the  martyrs. 

Mary's  restoration  of  Catholicism,1  though 
popular,  and  carried  out  with  more  respect  for 
the  Constitution  than  had  been  shown  by  her 
predecessors,  was  nevertheless  rather  her  work  than 
her  people's.  Popular  liberty  was  not  known  in 
those  days.  The  actual  government  was  in  the 
hands  of  a  bureaucracy,  as  it  had  been  under  her 
brother  Edward,  as  it  was  to  be  again  under  her 
sister.  Thus  the  old  religion  was  restored  by  the 
very  power  that  had  plucked  it  down,  but  was  not 
ensured  against  a  second  overthrow  similar  to  the 
first.  Nor  was  the  second  fall  long  in  coming. 

The  Catholic  revival  lasted  for  less  than  four 
years,  from  the  time  when  it  was  fully  sanctioned 
by  Parliament.  Elizabeth  succeeded  on  the  I7th 
of  November,  1558.  She  at  once  entrusted  her 
fortunes  to  a  small  clique  of  Protestant  advisers,  of 
whom  William  Cecil  was  the  leader  and  type,  and 

1  Pp.  23 — 37,  116 — 118. 


INTRODUCTION 


by  so  doing  decided,  once  and  for  all,  the  future 
of  her  reign,  of  herself,  and  of  her  realm. 

Some  account  of  the  steps  by  which  England  was 
severed  from  the  unity  of  the  Church,  will  be  found 
below.1  The  great  measures  were  the  Supremacy 
Bill  and  the  Act  of  Uniformity,  which  received  royal 
assent  on  the  28th  of  May,  1559.  These  were  rein 
forced  on  the  3rd  of  March,  1563,  by  the  so-called 
"Act  of  Assurance.""  But  it  must  be  repeated  that 
the  character  of  the  religious  policy  was  decided  far 
more  by  the  personal  feelings  of  the  Ministers  than 
by  the  legislature.  Sure  of  their  positions,  and  with 
nothing  serious  to  fear,  Cecil  and  his  companions 
had  many  reasons  for  tempering  tyranny  with 
mercy.  When  the  fanatical  party,  to  whom  we 
have  already  alluded,  raised  the  cry  of  "kill  the 
caged  wolves !  "  (i.e.  the  imprisoned  Bishops),  they 
wisely  adopted  a  milder  course,  thus  advancing  their 
cause  and  strengthening  their  mistress's  position 
far  more  than  any  violence  would  have  done. 

Though  much  constancy  was  displayed  up  and 
down  the  country,3  though  England  would  never 
have  changed  at  all  if  force  had  not  been  applied, 
still,  the  resistance  was,  it  must  be  confessed,  small. 
Unconstitutional  pressure  brought  to  bear  by  the 
Crown  on  a  people  so  childlike  in  the  trust  they 
reposed  in  their  rulers,  so  childish  in  their  incapacity 
for  self-help,  had  all  the  evil  effect  that  might  have 
been  expected.  The  practice  of  the  faith  was  laid 
aside  with  lamentable  rapidity,  considering  the 
tenacity  with  which  it  should  have  been  maintained. 

1  Pp.  38,  118.  *  Pp.  126,  127.  *  Pp.  129,  132,  565. 


INTRODUCTION 


Section  II.     Resistance  to  the  Settlement  of  Religion  by 
the  Crown  is  considered  Treason. 

This  brings  us  to  the  solution  of  one  of  the 
problems  which  was  indicated  at  the  commence 
ment  of  this  Introduction.  Why  was  it  that  our 
martyrs  were  falsely  accused  of  treason  and  dis 
loyalty  ?  Why  were  they  not  charged  with  having 
offended,  as  they  certainly  had,  against  the  religion 
by  law  established  ?  The  persecutors  had  no  doubt 
many  reasons.  Some  of  the  most  efficacious  were 
not  peculiar  to  England.  It  is  an  ordinary  thing 
for  one  who  has  done,  or  is  about  to  do  an  injury 
to  another,  to  overwhelm  his  victim  with  reproaches, 
and  ages  ago  holy  Job  lamented  that  the  sinner, 
even  "when  there  is  peace,  suspecteth  treason." 
Religious  persecutors,  moreover,  even  in  ages  much 
simpler  than  the  sixteenth  century,  have  generally 
been  ashamed  of  alleging  the  real  motives  of  their 
cruelty,  and  almost  always  pretend  that  those 
whom  they  oppress  have  been  guilty  of  sedition. 
"  We  find  this  man  stirring  up  the  people,  and 
refusing  tribute  to  Caesar."  The  Elizabethan 
persecutors  in  particular  were  especially  averse  to 
confessing  the  truth  in  this  matter,  for  none  had 
decried  the  persecutions  of  Mary,  or  of  Alva,  or  of 
Spain,  more  loudly  than  they.  Their  pharasaical 
minds  were  therefore  wholly  bent  on  proving  that 
they  were  now,  not  aggressors,  but  defenders  of  the 
course  of  justice. 

The  progress  of  events,  too,  naturally  led  to  the 


INTRODUCTION 


charge  of  disloyalty  being  brought  against  the 
Catholics.  The  schism  had  grown  out  of  the  blind 
devotion  to  the  Crown,  then  so  prevalent.  In  the 
case  of  the  greater  number  at  least,  fidelity,  principle, 
even  conscience,  had  been  at  the  sovereign's  disposal. 
The  sovereign  could,  and  did,  alter  the  objects  to 
which  her  loyal  subjects  had  previously  adhered. 
But  the  change  could  only  be  made  out  of  deference, 
not  out  of  loyalty.  Those  who  were  truly  loyal 
stood  firm  to  the  old  objects  of  allegiance.  They 
refused  to  be  drawn  into  schismatical  and  heretical 
excesses,  but  remained  as  conservative  and  sub 
servient  as  ever.  They  scorned  revolutionary  ideas 
as  proper  to  Zwinglians  and  new  religionists.  In 
the  previous  volume  we  heard  Blessed  Edward 
Powell  in  the  dialogue  defying  the  heretic  Barnes, 

What  doest  thou  know 

of  bate  or  sedition 

of  grudge  or  rebellion 

within  English  region 
that  the  old  sort  did  sow  P1 

Similarly  in  this  volume  we  hear  Father  Campion 
cry,  "The  day  shall  come,  O  Queen,  the  day  that 
shall  make  it  clear  as  noontide  which  of  the  two  did 
love  thee  best — the  Company  of  Jesus,  or  the  brood 
of  Luther."  And  Persons  was  not  less  emphatic  in 
declaring  in  a  book  dedicated  to  the  Queen  herself, 
that  "the  Catholique  faythe  teachethe  obedience 
more  than  other  religions."  : 

But,  alas!  Elizabeth  and  her  Ministers  had 
hardened  their  hearts.  Those  only  who  followed 
1  Vol.  I.  p.  501.  2  Pp.  339.  343.  344- 


INTRODUCTION 


her  in  her  revolutionary  course  were  to  be  styled 
loyal,  whilst  those  who  were  loyal  in  the  true  and 
unvarying  sense  of  the  word,  were  branded  with 
the  designation  of  traitors. 

Section  III.  The  Northern  Rising. 
We  have  noted  the  comparative  mildness  with 
which  the  persecuting  laws  were  administered  at 
the  beginning  of  Elizabeth's  reign.  This  lasted 
about  ten  years,  until  the  flight  of  Mary  Queen 
of  Scots  into  England  on  the  i6th  of  May,  1568. 
She  was  by  blood  heir  to  the  throne,  the  "  second 
person  in  the  kingdom,"1  and  it  is  through  her, 
not  through  Elizabeth,  that  our  present  reigning 
house  traces  its  hereditary  right.  That  Mary's 
presence  in  England  did  something  to  animate 
the  English  Catholics  cannot  be  doubted,  even 
though  we  know  so  little  about  the  details.  The 
conservative  party  among  the  Protestants,  how 
ever,  headed  by  the  Duke  of  Norfolk,  were  now 
encouraged  to  attempt  the  overthrow  of  Cecil  and 
the  advanced  reformers,  and  the  Catholics  were  in 
sympathy  with  these  plans.  But  whilst  they  did 
nothing,  Cecil  put  the  laws  in  force  against  the 
Catholics  with  greater  and  greater  stringency,  until 
on  the  I4th  of  November,  1569,  the  Northern  earls 
rose  in  rebellion.  Their  motives  were  no  doubt 
many,  but  religion  predominated,  and  the  Spanish 
Ambassador,  than  whom  no  one  was  at  that  time 
more  capable  of  arriving  at  a  broad  and  true  judg 
ment  on  the  matter,  declared  that  they  rose  because 
1  P.  134- 


INTRODUCTION 


of  the  enforcement  of  the  laws  enjoining  attendance 
at  the  Protestant  churches.1  For  a  week  the  tide  of 
success  flowed  with  them.  Then  fortune  changed, 
and  three  weeks  later  not  one  of  the  Northerners 
maintained  the  field. 

Section   IV.      The  Excommunication. 

Three  months  after  the  Rising  came  the  excom 
munication  of  the  Queen.  Pope  Pius  V.  had  not 
been  unaware  of  the  discontent  which  had  been 
fermenting  in  England,  but, — and  this  is  a  point 
very  much  to  be  remembered, — he  was  far  removed 
from  regular  and  reliable  sources  of  information. 
Letters  from  the  English  Catholics  to  him,  and  his 
answers,  might  take  two,  three,  or  even  four  months 
on  their  way,2  and  thus  it  was  very  difficult  for  him 
to  know  exactly  what  to  do,  still  more  so  to  choose 
the  right  moment  for  action.  In  the  year  1568  he 
had  sent  Doctor  Nicholas  Morton,  once  prebendary 
of  York,  to  report  on  the  state  of  affairs  in  England, 
and  Morton  had  started  back  a  few  months  before 
the  actual  outbreak,  with  the  news  that  an  insurrec 
tion  was  not  impossible.  But  while  he  was  on  his 
way  Sir  William  Cecil  had  brought  the  discontent 
prematurely  to  a  head,  and  the  Rising  was  over  and 
crushed,  before  the  Pope  had  so  much  as  heard  of 
the  likelihood  of  its  breaking  out. 

When  he  did  hear  of  that  probability,  he  took  a 

step  characteristic  of  the  man  and  the  time.     Those 

were  days  in  which  a  wonderful   renewal  of  fervour 

was  taking  place   in  Rome.     The   utmost  zeal  was 

1  Spanish  Calendar,  1508—1579,  p.  212.  2  P.  156 


INTRODUCTION 


being  evinced  for  restoring  ancient  observance,  and 
the  greatest  benefits  were  resulting  from  the  return 
to  pristine  severity  and  mediaeval  practices.  Hence 
the  idea  that  the  remedy  for  England  was  a  drastic 
measure  of  primitive  discipline.  The  previous  Pope, 
Pius  IV.,  had  taken  the  advice  of  the  Catholic  powers 
as  to  the  excommunication  of  Elizabeth,  and  finding 
them  most  hostile  to  any  such  measure,  had  decided 
to  proceed  no  further.  But  Pius  V.,  far  less  cautious 
than  Popes  usually  are,  was  also,  alas !  far  too  sanguine 
in  trusting  the  few  English  exiles  who  happened  to 
be  in  Rome.  He  summoned  these  men  to  a  court 
held  to  inquire  into  Elizabeth's  offences,  which  were 
of  course  as  plain  and  as  grave  as  they  could 
possibly  be.  He  thereupon  issued  his  Bull,  Regnans 
in  excelsis,  on  the  25th  of  February,  1570,  by  which 
he  both  excommunicated  her  and  deprived  her  of 
her  realm,  believing  that  the  sentence  would  at  once 
be  put  into  execution.  Only  after  this  was  done 
did  he  hear  of  the  collapse  of  the  Rising.  Thus  the 
clauses  which  concerned  the  deprivation,  resulted  in 
complete  failure1  and  did  actual  harm.  The  excom 
munication  in  itself,  however,  did  no  little  good 
to  the  Church  at  large,  and  to  the  Catholics  in  this 
country  in  particular.  For  whereas  we  have  seen 
that  the  greatest  of  all  snares  for  the  English 
Catholics  had  been  their  blind  obedience  to  their 
sovereign,  even  in  matters  of  faith  and  conscience, 
the  excommunication  of  that  sovereign  did  much 


1  There  were  indeed  complications  in  England  for  a  couple  of 
years  after  the  excommunication,  but  they  had  no  influence  on  the 
general  course  of  our  history.  (See  The  Month,  February,  1902.) 


INTRODUCTION 


to  remove  the  veil  from  their  eyes.  It  is  no  mere 
coincidence  then  that  soon  after  the  excommunica 
tion  Mayne,1  Campion,2  Ford,3  Robert  Johnson,4 
and  Lawrence  Johnson5 — to  confine  ourselves  to 
those  martyrs  only  of  whom  we  shall  treat  below — 
left  all  that  England  could  offer  to  hold  them  in 
Anglicanism,  and  went  abroad  to  follow  their  con 
sciences  in  suffering  and  poverty. 

Section  V.      The  Martyrs  of  1570  to  1572. 

Coming  now  to  Felton,  Storey,  Woodhouse, 
Percy,  whose  deaths  were  connected  in  one  way 
or  another  with  the  Rising  or  the  excommunica 
tion,  we  see  that  their  causes  involve  many  more 
problems  than  the  lives  of  the  other  martyrs  do. 
One  might,  for  instance,  discuss  their  patriotism 
in  so  far  as  they  championed  the  old  order,  which 
was  being  subverted  by  a  monstrous  exercise  of 
royal  tyranny.  One  might  draw  out  parallels 
between  them  and  others,  such  as  Hampden,  who 
are  commonly  belauded  as  champions  of  popular 
resistance  to  the  encroachments  of  the  Crown,  and 
the  comparison  would  be  greatly  in  favour  of  the 
Catholics.  But  here  we  are  only  concerned  with 
the  precise  question  of  their  martyrdom.  Were 
they  executed  out  of  the  motive  of  hatred  of  the 
Faith  ?  Were  they  persecuted  for  professing  the 
Faith,  or  for  performing  some  act  intimately  con 
nected  with  that  profession  ?  On  these  points,  too, 
this  group  of  martyrs  is  somewhat  exceptional. 
1  P.  209.  2  p.  282.  3  P.  444. 

*    P.   474.  5    P.   524. 

b 


INTRODUCTION 


For,  whereas  all  the  other  martyrs  were  conspicuous 
for  their  inoffensiveness,  these  four  had  annoyed 
the  Queen  or  opposed  her  titles  or  temporal  claims. 
If  we  take  a  partial  view  of  their  cases,  and  fix  our 
eyes  exclusively  on  their  abnormal  features,  we 
may  feel  a  doubt  about  their  claim  to  the  honours 
of  martyrdom.  But  it  is  needless  to  say  that  such 
a  way  of  looking  at  them  would  not  only  be  quite 
unfair,  it  would  misrepresent  the  facts.  We  cannot 
arrive  at  the  truth  without  considering  the  cases  in 
their  surroundings  ;  we  must  consider  these  execu 
tions  as  parts  of  a  cmel persecution. 

Let  us,  for  instance,  first  consider  the  case  of 
the  Blessed  Thomas  Percy,  Earl  of  Northumber 
land.  He  rose  in  defence  of  the  ancient  Faith, 
but  it  is  not  on  that  account  that  he  has  been 
venerated  as  a  martyr.  His  claim  depends  on  the 
courage  with  which  he  held  to  his  belief  in  the  hour 
of  weakness  and  defeat,  and  on  the  animus  with 
which  his  life  was  taken.  When  so  many  other 
offenders  were  pardoned  on  conformity  ;  when 
even  clerics  who  recanted  were  received  again  into 
favour,1  when  offers  of  life  were  made  to  him,  if  he 
too  would  conform,2  the  conclusion  becomes  ever 
clearer  and  clearer  that  he  should  be  reckoned 
with  the  sufferers  for  religion,  of  whom  there  were 
many  at  that  time. 

In  Felton's  case,  if  we  regard  nothing  but  the 
fact  of  his  having  set  up  the  Bull  of  Deposition,  we 
might  remain  uncertain  about  his  claim  to  martyr 
dom.  It  is  not  everyone  who  meets  his  death  while 
1  P.  149.  2  Pp.  172—176. 


INTRODUCTION 


executing  the  sentences  of  an  ecclesiastical  court 
who  is  a  martyr,  for  such  sentences  may  and  do 
provoke  many  passions  besides  hatred  of  the  Faith. 
Even  Catholic  princes  who  would  on  no  account 
have  tampered  with  the  faith  or  discipline  of  the 
Church,  have  been  known  to  execute  Papal  mes 
sengers  who  brought  them  notice  of  excommunica 
tion,  and  yet  no  one  pretends  that  such  messengers 
deserve  to  be  canonized  as  martyrs. 

But  if  we  enlarge  our  view,  and  regard  the  whole 
of  the  circumstances  of  Felton's  case,  we  at  once 
see  how  different  his  was  from  that  just  described. 
He  was  not  executed  by  a  Catholic  unwilling  to 
tamper  with  the  liberties  of  the  Church,  but  by  a 
persecutor  of  the  Church  eager  to  extinguish  every 
single  one  of  its  liberties.  Nor  did  either  side 
regard  the  exercise  of  Papal  authority  in  question 
as  an  issue  unconnected  with  the  continuance  of  the 
old  Faith  in  this  country.  It  seemed  to  be  the  only 
remedy  in  that  desperate  struggle.  Felton  took 
what  seemed  the  last  chance  "  to  secure  that  the 
Pope's  Apostolic  voice  should  be  heard,  and  his 
Apostolic  judgment  made  known  among  his 
English  flock.  Death  endured  for  that  cause  was 
true  martyrdom."1 

Elizabeth's  Government  took  a  similar  view  of 
the  situation.  Felton's  indictment 2  shows  us  that 


1  r.  13- 

2  In  the  Life  of  Felton,  mention  should  have  been  made  of  the 
record  of  his  trial,   which  is  preserved.     The  chief  clauses  in  the 
indictment  are  that  he  conspired  on  the  iyth  of  May,  1570,  with  one 
Cornelius,  an  Irish  cleric,  and   that  on  the   24th,  "about  eleven 


INTRODUCTION 


he  was  charged  with  aiding  and  assisting  the 
Pope  "  to  assume  and  usurp  power  and  authority 
within  this  realm  of  England."  "  Assume  and 
usurp,"  what  else  do  these  strong  words  convey, 
except  that  Papal  authority  was  extinct,  and  that 
Felton  meant  to  restore  it  ?  If  this  was  the  point 
of  view  of  the  Government,  they  were  doing  all 
that  was  necessary  on  their  part  to  provide  Felton 
with  the  martyr's  palm. 

The  case  of  Woodhouse 1  is  liable  to  an  exception 
similar  to  that  which  was  just  noticed,  though 
rather  more  subtle.  He  accepted  and  acted  rigidly 
upon  the  mediaeval  theories  concerning  the  deposition 
of  princes  by  Popes.  But,  as  was  said  just  now, 
not  every  one  who  may  be  put  to  death  because  he 
accepts  and  acts  upon  a  sentence  of  deprivation  is 
necessarily  a  martyr.  Indeed  it  may  be  doubted 
whether  Rome,  so  considerate  of  the  usual  prejudices 
of  temporal  rulers,  ever  has  declared,  or  ever  would 
declare  such  a  one  to  be  a  martyr  upon  this  ground 
only,  unless  there  be  many  other  causes  making  for 

o'clock  at  night,  he  affixed  to  the  gate  of  the  Bishop  of  London's 
Palace  a  copy,  printed  on  paper,  of  a  Bull  of  Pius  the  Fifth,  Bishop 
of  Rome,  which  Bull  contained  the  impious  and  most  wicked  decla 
ratory  sentence,  in  which  he  assumes  and  usurps  power  and 
authority  within  this  Kingdom  of  England,  &c.,  and  declares  that 
the  Queen  has  been  lawfully  deprived,"  &c.  And  "  further,  on  the 
2yth  of  June,  by  a  writing  signed  with  his  own  hand,  he  affirmed 
all  the  matters  contained  in  the  Bull,  &c.,  and  declared  the  Queen 
ought  not  to  be  Queen  of  England,"  &c.  "  Friday,  4  August,  at 
Guildhall,  Felton  pleaded  Not  guilty.  Verdict,  Guilty.  Sentence  as 
usual  in  cases  of  High  Treason."  (Fourth  Report  of  the  Deputy  Keeper 
of  the  Rolls,  1843,  p.  265.) 
1  Pp.  187 — 203. 


INTRODUCTION 


martyrdom.  In  Woodhouse's  case  there  are  many 
additional  reasons.  The  persecutor's  animus  was 
shown  beforehand  by  having  confined  him  to  prison 
indefinitely  for  the  exercise  of  spiritual  functions 
only.  Nor  could  an  unprejudiced  statesman  have 
taken  mortal  offence  at  the  very  gentle  way  in 
which  Woodhouse  uttered  his  warnings.1  Moreover, 
when  one  reads  the  whole  story,  one  perceives  that 
it  was  not  so  much  the  lengths  to  which  Woodhouse 
went,  which  gave  offence,  as  the  constancy  with 
which  he  "  defended  the  Pope's  authority"  and 
maintained  that  "  the  Pope  hath  to  do  in  this  realm." ' 
It  was  this  profession,  not  the  amiable  eccentricity 
with  which  he  urged  it,  which  was  the  true  cause 
of  his  death,  and  death  for  that  cause  is  surely 
martyrdom.3 

Storey's  case  is  clearer  still.  It  might  indeed  be 
alleged  that  he  had  irritated  the  Protestants  in 
Mary's  time,  and  that  he  was  executed  because  of 
his  personal  unpopularity.  But  this  is  a  very  inade 
quate  account  of  the  matter.  His  execution  of  the 
law  in  Mary's  time  was  neither  unconstitutional4 
nor  gratuitously  cruel,  indeed  his  refutation  of  the 
charge  of  cruelty  is  a  very  strong  one,5  and  in  his 
trial  no  legal  hold  could  be  taken  of  him  in  this 
matter.  It  does  not  appear  that  he  ever  denied 

1  Pp.  191—194. 

2  pp.  194, 195. 

3  I    have  searched    the    Coram    Rege    Rolls  for    the  record    of 
Woodhouse's  trial,  but  hitherto  in  vain.     We  do  not  yet  seem  to 
know  his  indictment. 

4  P.  33- 

6  Pp.  89-91. 


INTRODUCTION 


the  Queen's  power,1  or  ever  positively  offended  her. 
But  he  was  a  representative  of  the  old  order,  and  a 
conspicuous  man  among  the  Catholic  refugees. 
He  was  brought  home  by  fraud  and  violence,  and 
then  immolated  by  exalte  fanatics  to  spread  terror 
among  his  co-religionists,  to  show  how  strong 
Elizabeth  was  to  punish,  how  powerless  Spain  to  pro 
tect.  The  moment  was  one  of  Protestant  triumph, 
twelve  years  had  passed  since  the  occasion  of  offence. 
The  charge  now  alleged  was  trumpery,  even  if  it  had 
been  true.  If  the  rest  of  the  persecution  was  due  to 
odium  fidei,  what  reason  is  there  for  doubting  that 
this  act  was  inspired  by  the  same  motive  ? 2 

Finally,  with  regard  to  these  four  martyrs  it  is 
well  to  remember  that,  as  has  been  explained  in  the 
previous  volume,3  the  decree,  by  which  their  cultus 
is  permitted,  is  still  liable  to  amendment  and  is  not 
final,  and  that  Bishop  Challoner  for  prudential 
reasons  omitted  them  from  his  lists. 

Section  VI.     Increase  of  Missionary  Zeal  and 
of  Persecution  in  1580. 

The  excommunication  was  one  of  the  chief 
means  of  staying  the  tide  of  defection  in  England, 

1  Sander,    indeed,    interpreted    his    refusal    to    plead     before 
Elizabeth's  judges,  as  evidence  that  he  rejected  the  authority  of 
one  who  was  excommunicated.     This  may  be  a  good  inference,  or  it 
may  not,  but  at  all  events  it  is  only  an  inference.     Storey's  own 
explanation  (p.  88)  is  different,  and  sufficient  in  itself.     This  should 
be  borne  in  mind  while  reading  Sander's  resume  on  p.  82. 

2  Besides  the  copy  of  Storey's  indictment  mentioned  on  p.  77,  a 
reference  may  be  added  to  the  complete  record  of  his  trial,  on  the 
Coram  Rege  Roll,  13  Elizabeth,  Easter,  pt.  ii.  rot.  vii. 

s  Vol.  I.  p.  xix. 


INTRODUCTION  xxiii 


but    until    a    new    fervour   was    breathed    into   the 
persecuted,  terror-stricken  Catholics  their  persever 
ance  was  still  insecure.     The   first   step  towards  a 
reorganization  was  the  foundation    of  the  English 
Seminary  at    Douay  in    1568,  and  the    sending   of 
missionaries  in  I574-1    The  next  year,  1575,  the  year 
of  Jubilee,  was  marked  by  an  awakening  of  fervour 
in  all  classes.     The  pilgrim  spirit  becomes  wonder 
fully  strong   from   this  time,2  and  also  zeal  for  the 
missions,  which  reached  its  height  with  the  change 
of    the    old     English     hospice     in     Rome    into     a 
Seminary    under   the    direction  of   the  Jesuits,    for 
training    priests  for  England.3      This    was    accom 
plished   in    1578.     A  year  later,    Dr.  Allen   obtained 
the  mission  of  the  Jesuits  to  England,  and  Eathers 
Persons  and   Campion  set   out   for   England  about 
the  I7th  of  April,  1580.     Their  party  had  increased 
to    thirteen,    and    included,    besides    alumni    from 
the    English     College,    Rome,    several    grey-headed 
chaplains  who  had  belonged  to  the  former  hospice, 
and  even  old  Bishop  Goldwell.     At  the  same  time 
the  Douay  College  (now  at  Rheims)  was  sending  in 
missionaries   at    a    rate   which    under   the   circum 
stances   well    deserves  to   be    called    rapid.      Thus 
we   may  consider  this  period   as  the  golden  age  of 
missionary  effort. 

Section  VII.     Reasons  for  the  Increase  of  Persecution. 

(a)   Sir  Erancis  Walsingham. 
These  efforts  were  met  by  a  notable  increase  in 
the   persecution.      It  has   been  already  stated  that 

*  Pp.  204-207.  2  Pp.  475-  539,  569-  3  PP-  360-362. 


INTRODUCTION 


the  persecution  was  decided  more  by  the  Ministers 
than  by  the  laws.  The  Machiavelli  of  the  period 
now  under  discussion  was  Sir  Francis  Walsingham. 
He  was  not  indeed  so  original  nor  so  powerful  a  man 
as  Sir  William  Cecil,  but  he  accepted  Cecil's  policy, 
and  exceeded  him  in  fanatical  earnestness,  an 
earnestness  which  hardened  him  against  scruple 
and  pity.  His  object  was  to  keep  the  Queen  and 
the  realm  in  a  state  of  alarm,  until  the  "bosom 
serpent,"  as  he  called  Queen  Mary,  had  been  killed 
and  the  Catholics  were  utterly  crushed.  He,  the 
Earl  of  Leicester,  and  others  of  their  party,  were 
labouring  for  this  end  during  the  period  covered  by 
our  volume,  and  a  year  or  two  later  they  succeeded 
in  accomplishing  their  purpose. 

(b)  Errors  of  Catholic  Politicians. 
Walsingham's  plans  were  assisted  by  various 
errors  on  the  part  of  the  Catholic  politicians.  The 
gravest  of  these  was  the  expedition  to  Ireland  of  1579, 
in  which  Pope  Gregory  himself  was  compromised. 
Elizabeth's  pirates  and  her  policy  in  Flanders  had 
enraged  public  feeling  against  her  on  the  Continent, 
and  when  two  adventurers,  Thomas  Stukely,  an 
Englishman,  and  James  Fitzgerald,  an  Irishman, 
asked  for  a  small  force  of  ships  and  men,  with 
which  to  vex  her  in  Ireland,  they  were  received 
with  friendly  neutrality  both  in  France  and  Spain, 
and  the  good-natured,  but  impolitic  Gregory  furnished 
them  with  vessels  and  munitions  of  war.  Stukely 
perished  without  achieving  anything,  but  Fitzgerald 
succeeded  in  landing  in  Ireland,  where  he  lit  up  a 


INTRODUCTION 


civil  war  which  lasted  for  some  time.  He  was 
accompanied  by  a  notable  English  churchman, 
Dr.  Nicholas  Sander,  who  went,  not  exactly  as  a 
Papal  Nuncio,  but  at  least  as  some  sort  of  Papal 
representative.  This  expedition  caused  Elizabeth 
much  annoyance,  and  some  passing  fears,  but  no 
serious  alarm,  and,  as  we  see  from  the  French 
Ambassador's  despatches,  she  affected  to  despise  the 
whole  enterprise. 

The  excuse  for  the  Pope's  adviser,  the  Cardinal 
of  Como,  who  was  chiefly  responsible  for  the  under 
taking,  is  this— that  when  it  was  decided  upon,  in 
1577,  there  seemed  to  be  no  chance  of  its  injuring 
missionary  efforts  in  England.  Nobody  then  fore 
saw  the  great  good  that  the  Seminary  priests  would 
soon  achieve.  On  the  other  hand  the  expedi 
tion  was  carried  out  so  slowly  that,  as  Father 
Persons  tells  us,  he  and  Campion  did  not  hear  of 
Sander's  doings  in  Ireland  till  they  were  at  Rheims, 
in  June,  1580,  and  the  news  caused  so  much  dismay 
that  many  persons  advised  that  the  Jesuit  mission 
to  England  should  be  given  up.  From  all  this  it 
follows  that  Mr.  Simpson  and  other  writers  who 
believed  that  the  Papal  Government  sent  warships 
to  Ireland  simultaneously  with  missionaries  to 
England,  were  under  a  misapprehension.  The 
warships  were  sent,  because  there  seemed  no 
opening  for  messengers  of  peace.  It  was  a  grave 
mistake,  however,  even  then  ;  and  a  worse  mistake 
still  not  to  have  recalled  them  when  the  spiritual 
ambassadors  were  sent  forth.  The  result  of  per 
severing  with  both  enterprises  was  to  give  plausibility 


xxvi  INTRODUCTION 


to  Walsingham's  contention  that  the  preaching  of 
the  old  Faith  was  a  political  propaganda. 

(c)  The  Fictitious  Papal  League. 
The   Irish   expedition,  however,  was  at  most   a 
very  small  affair,  and  did  not  impress  the  public 
very  much.     Walsingham  therefore  endeavoured  to 
excite  the  Queen   and  the   public  by  more  stirring 
news.      There   was    a   great   league,    he    declared, 
between   the    Pope,    the    King   of    Spain,    and   the 
Grand    Duke    of  Florence,    for   the    destruction    of 
English  Protestantism.1    Rumours  of  Papal  Leagues 
had    been    frequently   raised    among   German    Pro 
testants,   in  order  to  induce  the  reforming  princes 
to  co-operate  more  closely,  but  they  had  been  rare  in 
England.     Owing  to  the  Irish  expedition  the  Papal 
League  rumour  now  won  some  credit,  and  had  its 
effect  in  deepening  the  suspicion  against  the  Catholic 
priests.     The  first  proclamation  against  Persons  and 
Campion,  that  of  the  I5th  of  July,  1580,  denounced 
the  missioners  as  engaged  in  its  support.     It  is  also 
objected  against  the  martyrs  as  evidence  justifying 
their  execution.2 

(d)  Other  Reasons. 

The  Irish  Expedition  and  the  Papal  League 
were,  if  one  may  say  so,  Walsingham's  trumps,  but 
he  also  had  in  his  hand  a  number  of  useful  small 
cards  of  the  same  suit.  He  could  recall  the 
cruelties  of  Alva,  the  Massacre  of  St.  Bartholomew, 

1  See  The  Month,  March,  1901,  and  March,  1902. 
*  P.  508. 


INTRODUCTION 


and  the  attempts  on  the  life  of  the  Prince  of  Orange, 
and  he  drew  the  unjustifiable  conclusion  that  Eliza 
beth's  life  was  never  safe  from  her  faithful  and 
inoffensive  Catholic  subjects. 

After  1581  the  young  King  of  Scotland  showed 
signs  of  restiveness  under  the  galling  yoke  which 
Protestantism  had  placed  on  his  shoulders.  Once 
or  twice  it  really  seemed  as  if  he  might  have  drawn 
the  forces  of  Scotland  into  opposition  to  England, 
and  if  he  had  succeeded  in  this,  considerable  changes 
might  indeed  have  followed.  But  these  moments  of 
danger  were  but  few,  and  they  ceased  altogether  in 
1584.  The  vacillations,  however,  had  only  made 
Walsingham's  party  more  eager  than  ever  to  get 
their  work  over  and  settled. 

Even  Elizabeth's  flirtations  with  the  Due 
d'Alenyon  were  made  to  assist  the  projects  of  the 
Puritan  politicians.  The  further  the  marriage 
negotiations  were  carried,  the  more  irritated  did 
the  fanatics  become,  and  the  more  ready  were 
Elizabeth's  Ministers  to  sacrifice  Catholics  in  order 
to  propitiate  them.  The  resolution  to  execute 
Campion  seems  to  have  been  finally  taken  for  this 
reason. 

Section  VIII.  Persecution  at  its  height. 
Thus  from  the  year  1580,  a  change  is  perceptible. 
Hitherto  the  persecutors  had  not  done  their  worst. 
They  had  so  fashioned  their  laws,  that  Catholicism, 
as  they  thought,  would  be  sure  to  be  extinguished 
sooner  or  later.  Now  the  intention  was  to  crush 
out  the  Church  at  once.  The  Statute  of  23  Elizabeth 


INTRODUCTION 


imposed  on  Recusants  the  ruinous  fine  of  twenty 
pounds  per  lunar  month  ;  it  made  reconciliation  with 
the  Church  high  treason,  with  grave  penalties  for 
all  who  aided  the  conversion  ;  it  also  put  the  severest 
penalties  upon  keeping  Catholic  tutors  or  school 
masters.  Proclamations  were  published  against  the 
entertainers  of  Jesuits  and  Seminarists,  and  all 
students  in  foreign  colleges  were  summoned  home. 
Worst  of  all  was  the  pest  of  spies,  informers,  and 
pursuivants,  who  were  now  turned  loose  on  the 
unfortunate  Catholics,  for  whom  there  was  nowhere 
rest,  or  safety,  or  escape.  Their  misfortunes  had 
entered  on  a  new  phase.  A  war  of  utter  extermina 
tion  had  been  commenced  against  them,  at  the 
very  time  they  were  beginning  to  hope  that  they 
might  regain  some  of  the  ground  they  had  lost. 
The  increase  in  cruelty  was  partly  intended  as  a 
counter-move  to  the  revival  of  missionary  zeal,  and 
was  partly  due  to  political  occurrences,  which  were 
used  or  abused  in  order  to  represent  the  missionaries 
as  political  traitors.  As  the  persecutors  had  already 
perverted  the  popular  conception  of  loyalty,  it  was 
now  no  longer  impossible  to  take  the  lives  of  some 
of  the  holiest  and  noblest  of  their  fellow-countrymen 
on  pretences  as  absurd  as  that  of  the  plot  of  Rome 
and  Rheims. 

Section   IX.     The  Procedure  of  Martyrdom. 

The  reader  will  notice  that  the  martyrdoms  of 
the  missionary  priests,  owing  to  the  uniformity  of 
the  laws  under  which  they  suffered,  were  in  many 


INTRODUCTION 


things  similar  one  to  another.  It  will  be  worth 
while  to  enumerate  these  points  of  likeness,  for  they 
will  show  us  how  the  different  lives  may  be  profitably 
compared  and  contrasted  one  with  another. 

Of  the  life  previous  to  the  arrest  we  know  too 
often  very  little  beyond  the  entries  in  the  college 
registers,  which  give  us  the  dates  of  arrival, 
departure,  and  the  receipt  of  Holy  Orders.  The 
life  on  the  mission  was  in  those  days  passed  in 
secrecy.  It  is  rare  that  we  know  any  details  what 
ever  about  it.  The  martyr  does  not  generally  come 
under  observation  until  his  arrest.  This  might  take 
place  in  a  great  variety  of  ways.  Frequently,  in 
later  times  generally,  it  was  the  result  of  a  syste 
matic  search,  which  might  be  carried  out  by  a 
considerable  force,1  and  might  sometimes  last  for 
several  days.2  Other  arrests  were  due  to  the  merest 
chance.  Hanse  was  suspected  because  he  was 
wearing  French  boots.3  Briant  was  taken  during 
a  search  made  for  Father  Persons.4  The  identity 
of  Lawrence  Richardson  was  mistaken  until  his 
death.5  Others  were  captured  at  posts  of  special 
danger.  Kirby  and  Cottam  (the  latter  under 
peculiarly  interesting  circumstances)  at  landing;6 
Sherwin  while  preaching ; 7  Hanse,  Lacey,  and 
Kirkman  while  visiting  prisoners.8  When  arrested 
the  victim  was  searched,  often  to  the  very  skin,9 
robbed  of  all  he  possessed,10  and  led  off  to  prison 

1    Pp.  5,  212.  2   P.  338. 

3  P.  249.          *  p.  402.          5  P.  532. 

6   Pp.  502,  542.  7    P.  380.  8   Pp.  252,  570,  637. 

9  P.  213.  w  Pp.  242,  436,  638. 


INTRODUCTION 


with  some  demonstration  of  triumph.  Campion 
and  his  companions  had  their  faces  to  their  horses' 
tails,  and  on  his  hat  was  the  placard,  "  Campion, 
the  seditious  Jesuit."  l 

After  committal  the  prisoners  were  fettered, 
sometimes  amongst  the  felons  in  the  common  gaol.2 
It  is  recorded  in  several  instances  that  the  martyrs 
welcomed  these  insignia  of  Christ  with  notable  pride 
and  contentment.3  The  chains  were  sometimes 
doubled,  sometimes  fastened  down,  sometimes  so 
galling  that  the  hand  had  to  be  used  to  relieve  the 
weight,  sometimes  used  as  means  by  which  the  poor 
sufferer  might  be  "tugged  and  lugged"  from  one 
place  to  another.4  Amongst  the  miseries  of  prison 
are  mentioned  thirst,  nakedness,  starvation,  depriva 
tion  of  beds,  confinement  in  darkness,  in  underground 
dungeons,  amongst  rats,  and  over  stinking  drains.5 
For  "  refusing  to  uncover  when  heretics  said  grace 
at  table,  Woodhouse  was  set  in  the  stocks."6 
Under  Henry  VIII.  the  treatment  had  been  more 
cruel  still.  Blessed  Edward  Powell  complained 
that  his  keeper  "  was  not  content  to  set  me  in  the 
chain,  but  now  he  hath  taken  from  me  my  own  bed, 
and  hath  tied  me  so  that  I  cannot  lie  down  on  the 
boards,  but  am  hanged  in  the  collar,  and  do  lie  in 
the  stocks  with  gyves  on  my  legs."7 

1  Pp.  339,  356>  n-  5- 

2  Pp.  217,  539,  593. 

»  Pp.  196,  383-  384-  572. 

4  Pp.  197,  257,  406,  612. 

5  Pp.  240,  242,  243,  403,  404,  406,  409,  483,  531,  587,  611. 

6  P.  190. 

i  Vol.  I.  p.  493.  Cases  of  death  while  in  prison  occur  pp.  159, 
176,  646. 


INTRODUCTION 


Then  came  the  examinations.  Though  chiefly 
directed  to  the  inculpation  of  others,  it  was  also  a 
primary  object  to  draw  from  the  prisoner  evidence 
tending  to  his  own  incrimination.  Examinations 
were  generally  repeated  more  than  once,  and  torture 
was  frequently  applied  to  "bolt  out"1  evidence, 
which  the  victim  wished  to  withhold,  or  was 
suspected  of  withholding.  The  torture  generally 
consisted  of  the  rack,2  sometimes  of  Skevington's 
irons,  popularly  called  "The  Scavenger's  Daughter."3 
The  only  rack  we  read  of  was  that  in  the  Tower  of 
London,  and  it  does  not  seem  to  have  been  used 
without  the  order  of  the  Privy  Council.4  The 
torture  of  13riant  by  needles5  is  a  solitary  case; 
perhaps  the  idea  was  borrowed  from  the  procedure 
against  witches.  Blows  are  not  often  mentioned.6 
Hanse  is  reported  to  have  been  hung  up  by  the  feet. 

Whilst  on  this  topic  it  may  not  be  amiss  to  add 
that,  atrocious  as  these  tortures  were,  we  must  not 
be  too  superlative  in  our  denunciations  of  the 
persecutor  for  using  them.  It  must  be  remembered 
that  the  manners  of  the  times  were  very  hard  and 
very  rough,  that  torture  was  in  use  in  most,  if  not 
in  all  other  countries,  and  that  it  was  here  employed 
seldom,  except  during  certain  outbursts  of  savagery. 
What  aggravated  the  abuse  was  that  the  English 
law  clearly  forbade  it  altogether ;  and  that  English 
men  were  even  then  naturally  inclined  to  humanity, 
and  not  liable  to  fits  of  violent  anger,  to  scares,  to 

1  Pp.  6,  404.  *  Pp.  C,  242,  385,  404,  433,  447,  467,  483. 

8  PP-  385,  386,  507,  550.          <  Pp.  5,  75,  34o,  343,  404,  433,  483. 

5  P.  406.  «  Pp.  198,  254,  550. 


INTRODUCTION 


morbid  fanaticism,  which  have  generally  occasioned 
the  application  of  torture  abroad.  Nor  had  public 
feeling  been  brutalized  by  prolonged  war  or  any 
pressing  danger  of  it.  The  tortures  were  applied 
calmly  by  the  Privy  Council  warrant,  in  order  to 
win  evidence  that  would  bolster  up  the  monstrous 
fiction  that  the  Catholics  were  traitors  by  reason  of 
their  religion.  The  worst  crime  of  the  Elizabethan 
persecutors  was  their  hypocrisy. 

After  the  examination  by  the  civil  magistrates 
came  the  disputations  with  the  Protestant  ministers. 
In  the  cases  here  recorded  the  victory  remained  with 
the  priests,  but  the  harsh  treatment  of  the  martyrs 
was  sometimes  aggravated  through  their  successes.1 
In  one  case  the  meeting  leads  to  an  increase  of 
humanity,  in  another  to  a  conversion.2  From  time 
to  time  the  martyrs  were  dragged  to  Protestant 
sermons,  or  had  to  be  present  at  prayers,  to  which 
they  offered  such  opposition  as  they  could.3 

In  ordinary  course  the  trial  would  then  follow. 
Up  to  the  end  of  the  time  covered  by  this  volume 
there  was  no  statute  under  which  missionaries  as 
such  could  be  executed,4  and  in  order  to  put  them 
to  death  it  was  necessary  to  concoct  some  bogus 
plot,  as  for  Hanse,  Payne,  Campion,  and  his 
companions,  or  else  to  maintain  that  acceptance  of 
Orders  and  Jurisdiction  from  the  Pope  and  still 
more  the  reconciling  of  others  to  the  Church  was 
equivalent  to  a  renunciation  of  fealty  to  the  Queen, 
and  the  seduction  of  her  subjects  from  their 
i  p.  515.  2  Pp.  341,  612.  3  Pp.  189,  386,  508,  551. 

4  Pp.  438,  574,  641. 


INTRODUCTION 


allegiance.1  The  latter  point  was  legalized  by  the 
statute  of  23  Elizabeth,  1581,  but  the  former  did  not 
become  the  law  until  1585. 

As  to  the  use  of  evidence  the  fuller  account  we 
have  of  Campion's  trial  is  interesting.  It  seems  that 
more  than  usual  pains  were  taken  in  this  case  to 
produce  proofs  of  guilt,  but  the  futility  of  the 
testimony  adduced  is  remarkable.'2 

Another  noteworthy  point  is  the  use  of  con 
fessions  or  self-accusations.  Sherwood,  for  instance, 
was  questioned  by  his  judges,  whether,  if  the  excom 
munication  of  Elizabeth  was  valid,  she  was  deposed; 
and — being  forced  to  speak  by  every  means  that 
tyranny  could  employ,  including  the  rack, — had 
uttered  an  affirmative  answer,  which,  however,  he 
immediately  begged  to  retract.  It  was  not  pretended 
that  he  was  in  the  habit  of  uttering  or  disseminating 
these  opinions,  but  the  solitary  fact  of  his  having 
uttered  them  at  that  definite  time  and  place  before 
the  Commissioners  was  objected  to  him  as  treason, 
a  capital  offence,  and  for  it  he  was  executed.3  This 
case,  with  that  of  Nelson  and  Hanse,4  seem  to 
stand  by  themselves.  As  a  rule  the  confession  was 
treated  not  as  treason  in  itself,  but  as  evidence  for 
something  else  (say  for  priesthood,  or  reconciling  to 
the  Church),  which  was  accounted  a  mortal  offence. 

After  condemnation  the  severities  of  imprison 
ment  were  often  increased,5  and  it  seems  to  have  been 

1  Pp.  254,  574,  585,  592,  616. 

2  Pp.   389,  437,   484,   509,  and  especially   the  case  of  Cottam, 

551—554- 

3  P.  246,  compared  with  Acts  of  English  Martyrs,  pp.  14,  17. 

4  Pp.  226,  254,  257.  5  Pp.  419,  454,  493,  5io. 

C  II. 


INTRODUCTION 


a  common  thing  for  the  prisoners  to  be  thrown  into 
the  low  and  foul  dungeon  called  "Limbo"  before 
they  were  executed.1  Catholic  friends  occasionally 
managed  to  send  in  letters,  and  even  the  means  to 
say  Mass.2  It  was  rare  that  such  things  were  done 
in  the  Tower,  or  even  in  Newgate,  but  Elizabeth's 
officials  were  almost  always  open  to  bribes,  and 
in  the  smaller  and  less  severe  prisons,  e.g.,  the  Fleet 
or  the  Clink,  some  alleviation  seems  to  have  been 
generally  obtainable.  Only  in  the  case  of  Storey 
do  we  read  of  a  priest  being  admitted  to  prepare 
a  dying  man  to  meet  his  doom.3 

We  now  come  to  a  matter  somewhat  difficult  to 
explain,  a  method  of  defaming  victims  which  was 
afterwards  regularly  known  as  that  of  "the  bloody 
question."  To  understand  it  one  must  bear  in  mind 
that,  while  our  martyrs  were  freely  accused  of  being 
traitors,  when  they  w^ere  tried  for  such  charges, 
however  slight  and  one-sided  the  inquiry  might  be, 
their  innocence  of  treason  was  always  more  manifest 
than  before.  An  attempt  was  therefore  made  to 
draw  from  them  some  expression  of  opinion  which 
would  cause  an  outcry  against  them,  and  under  its 
cover  to  proceed  to  their  actual  execution.  They 
were  plied  with  catch  questions,  the  first  of  which 
would  be  more  or  less  in  this  form  :  "  Would  you 
not  accept  freedom  for  yourself  and  your  Church  if 
you  could  ?  "  The  examinee  was  bound  to  answer 
this  in  the  affirmative,  under  pain  of  condemning 
himself  as  irrational.  Then  came  the  insidious 

1  Pp.  229,  587.     A  "pit"  is  described  pp.  408,  409,  and  n. 
2  Pp.  415,  422.  3  Pp.  83,  86. 


INTRODUCTION 


sequel,  "  Would  you  accept  it  from  a  Papal 
force?" 

Then  there  was  no  escape  from  offending  the 
prejudices  both  of  the  Queen  and  of  the  Puritan 
mob.  It  was  no  use  to  say  that  you  would  fight 
against  the  Pope  when  he  was  the  unjust  aggressor, 
for  the  Puritans  considered  him  as  Antichrist, 
always  to  be  resisted,  and  Elizabeth  held  that 
neither  the  Church  nor  conscience  had  any  liberties 
which  could  be  justly  defended  against  her. 

This  insidious  test  was  applied  to  seven  of  our 
martyrs  under  the  form  of  the  six  questions.1  The 
last  of  these  was,  "  If  the  Pope,  or  any  other,  by  his 
authoritie  doe  invade  this  realme,  which  part  ought 
a  good  subject  of  England  to  take  ?  "  The  martyrs 
answered,  that  when  the  circumstances  should 
occur,  they  would  do  what  should  be  right,  or  what 
other  good  Catholics  did,  &c.,  and  their  execution  was 
proceeded  with.  The  iniquity  lay,  not  in  putting  an 
awkward  question  to  a  religious  opponent,  but  in 
putting  it  with  a  murderous  intent.  That  one  con 
troversialist  intent  on  victory  should  ask  another 
the  most  invidious  questions  he  can  think  of,  will 
cause  no  one  any  wonder.  But  to  compel  your 
controversial  adversary  to  give  an  answer  satisfactory 
to  yourself,  and  to  kill  him  if  he  fails,  this  is  gross 
tyranny.  The  course  of  the  Elizabethan  perse 
cutors  was  hardly  a  whit  less  iniquitous.  They 
condemned  their  victims  to  death  without  reason, 
but  spared  those  whose  replies  on  an  irrelevant 
controversial  question  seemed  satisfactory  to  them- 
1  Pp.  449—452. 


INTRODUCTION 


selves.  That  such  irrelevant  matters  should  have 
been  raised  at  all,  was  an  obvious  violation  of  the 
course  of  justice,  and  was,  as  such,  eloquently 
denounced  by  Campion.1 

For,  whereas  the  martyrs  were  put  to  death  on 
a  definite  charge  of  treason,  these  questions  were 
intended,  not  to  test  their  fealty,  but  to  obscure  it, 
and  to  ensure  that  the  fanatical  crowd,  who  heard 
the  answers  read  from  the  gallows,  should  mis 
understand  their  case  and  drown  the  voices  of 
sympathizers  by  clamours  for  their  blood.2 

The  martyrs'  last  chance  of  life  being  lost  by 
their  answers  to  "the  bloody  question,"  they  were 
in  time  led  out  to  die.  The  warrant  for  those 
confined  in  the  Tower  had  to  be  signed,  it  is  said, 
by  the  Queen,  and  a  singular  rumour  connected 
with  this  is  recorded  at  p.  449.  They  were  drawn 
to  the  gallows  upon  a  hurdle  or  a  sledge,3  to  which 
they  were  pinioned,  two  on  one  hurdle  when  there 
were  several  to  be  executed  at  the  same  time.4 
A  prominent  feature  in  the  cortege  was  the  Pro 
testant  parson,  whose  rude  disputativeness  was 
doubtless  intended  to  prevent  the  dying  priests  from 
speaking  or  praying  with  peace.5  Friends,  however, 
could  also  now  approach,  and  during  the  via  dolorosa 
sometimes  tried  to  speak  or  make  signs  to  them.6 

1  P.  452. 

2  For  further  discussion  of  these  topics,  see  pp:  342 — 344,  449, 

450- 

s  Pp.  9  (hurdle  or  dray),  85  (sledge),  219,  231,  351,  454.  459- 
576-  587.  594-  628,  645. 

4  Pp-  393.  597- 

5  Pp.  8,  471,  590,  614,  630,  &c. 

6  Pp.  351,  454  (mutual  confession),  576. 


INTRODUCTION 


Arrived  at  the  gallows  they  were  stripped  to  their 
shirts,  in  order  that  the  quartering  might  be  pro 
ceeded  with  more  easily  afterwards. 

They  then  ascended  the  cart,  when  the  execu 
tions  were  at  the  London  Tyburn.  Here  there 
were  not  one  but  three  cross-pieces,  fastened  in  a 
triangle,  each  angle  supported  on  an  upright  about 
twelve  feet  high.  This  "  pair  of  gallows  made  in 
triangular  manner "  had  been  put  up  new  to  give 
solemnity  to  the  execution  of  Storey.1  Nooses  were 
tied  to  the  cross-beams,  and  the  person  to  be 
hanged  was  driven  in  the  cart  under  the  noose 
intended  for  him.  When  it  had  been  fastened 
round  his  throat,  the  cart  was  driven  away.'2  After 
the  Assizes  in  those  brutal  times  sixteen  to  twenty 
corpses  were  often  left  hanging  on  the  same  day 
from  "  Tyburn  tree."  At  the  smaller  places  of 
execution,  away  from  London,  the  martyr  mounted 
a  ladder,  while  the  rope  was  being  fastened,  then 
the  ladder  was  turned,  or  he  thrown  off  it. 

A  good  deal  of  speaking  generally  took  place 
between  the  fastening  of  the  rope,  and  the  drive  off 
of  the  cart.  On  occasion  of  the  martyrdoms  of 
the  3Oth  of  May,  1582,  Sheriff  Martin  offered  pardon 
to  any  who  would  conform,  but  this  was  rarely 
done  in  explicit'terms.  These  offers,  however,  were 
inspired  not  by  clemency,  but  by  the  desire  to  throw 
upon  the  sufferers  the  responsibility  for  their  own 
deaths.  In  the  same  spirit,  they  were  regularly 
asked  "at  least"  to  beg  the  Queen's  forgiveness. 
This  the  martyrs  ever  refused  to  do,3  and  the  refusal 

i  P.  85.         -  Pp.  93,  472,  &c.          3  Pp.  10,  198,  440,  469,  &c. 


INTRODUCTION 


was  held  by  the  worshippers  of  royalty  to  be  in 
itself  arrant  treason,  though  the  dying  men,  even 
with  their  last  breath,  made  striking  declarations  of 
their  loyalty  to  the  Queen.1  Then  the  martyr  would 
be  expected  by  the  people  to  make  a  speech.  Some 
times  he  did  so,  sometimes  the  officials  interfered. 
At  last  he  was  generally  left  some  minutes  to  pray, 
but  if  he  used  the  Latin  prayers  so  familiar  to 
Catholic  priests,  the  ministers  and  people  would  cry 
to  him  to  pray  in  English.2  The  last  words  used 
by  the  martyrs  are  wonderfully  devout  and  full  of 
significance.  In  later  times,  they  more  frequently 
murmured  the  Jesu  Psalter,  and  the  custom  is  obser 
vable  also  in  the  Lives  now  under  consideration.3 
The  final  butchery  was  too  hideous  to  describe.  In 
one  case  the  quartering  was  dispensed  with,4  but  in 
others  the  last  tortures  even  exceeded  the  severity 
of  the  sentence.5 

After  the  martyrdom,  the  quarters  were  set  on 
the  city  gates  and  the  heads  on  London  Bridge,  or 
other  conspicuous  places.  The  Catholics  generally 
succeeded  in  securing  some  of  the  precious  relics, 
often  at  great  risk  to  themselves. 

1  Pp.  260,  488,  496,  519,  617,  &c. 

2  Pp.  198,  352,  441,  457  «.,  521.      In  the  (Protestant)   account 
of   Storey,   he   appears   to   have   prayed   with   Protestants,  p.  91. 
Otherwise  the  martyrs  were  careful  to  pray  with  Catholics  only, 
pp.  198,  231,  232,  260,  265,  457  n.,  560,  631. 

3  Pp.  io,  395. 

4  P.  597- 

5  P.  85. 


INTRODUCTION 


Section  X.     Authorities. 

Besides  the  ordinary  references  to  the  provenance 
of  quotations,  there  will  be  found  at  the  end  of  each 
Life  a  description  of  the  authorities  which  especially 
concern  it.  It  will  therefore  only  be  necessary  to 
speak  here  about  those  general  sources,  a  knowledge 
of  which  has  been  elsewhere  presumed. 

The  most  important  records  for  the  history  of 
the  martyrs  were  those  originally  preserved  in  the 
Seminaries  of  Douay  and  Rome,  but  which  are  now 
in  great  measure  printed,  or  dispersed,  or  lost.  The 
archives  of  the  Archbishop  of  Westminster  and 
those  of  Stonyhurst  College  contain  most  of  the 
manuscripts  which  survive,  but  there  are  others  at 
Oscott,  the  English  College,  Rome,  and  elsewhere. 

The  above-mentioned  records  were  used  by 
Cardinal  Allen  when  drawing  up  the  first  martyr- 
ology,  which  was  published  anonymously,  under 
the  title  Briefe  Historic  of  twelve  Reverend  Priests 
[Rheims,  1582]. 1  This  was  translated  into  Latin, 
somewhat  amplified,  and  continued  till  1585,  by 
Father  John  Bridgwater  and  his  fellow-workers,2 
under  the  title  Concertatio  Ecclesitz  Anglicana,  of 
which  there  were  editions  in  1583,  1588,  and  1594. 
This  work  was  translated  into  Spanish  and  again 
amplified  and  brought  up  to  date  by  Fray  Diego 
Yepes,  Jeronimite,  and  afterwards  Bishop  of  Tarra- 
cona,  in  his  Historia  Particular  de  la  persecucion  de 
Inglatcrra,  i^gg.3 

1  There  is  a  copy  in  the  British  Museum  (catalogued  under 
"  Catholic  Faith  "),  4707,  aa.  6. 

2  P.  634-  3  Cf.  p.  597- 


xl  INTRODUCTION 


In  the  next  century  we  have  the  catalogues  of 
Dr.  Thomas  Worthington  (1614),  and  of  Richard 
Smith,  Bishop  of  Chalcedon  (still  unpublished). 
Though  important  for  some  subsequent  martyrs,  they 
add  little  to  our  knowledge  of  the  earlier  sufferers 
now  under  consideration.  The  most  important  of 
all  later  writers  is  Bishop  Challoner,  whose  Memoirs 
of  Missionary  Priests  [1741],  is  still  deservedly  popular 
amongst  us.  Challoner  continued  the  martyrology 
to  the  end  of  the  persecution  period,  and  made  use 
of  all  the  then  known  material,  both  printed  and 
manuscript,  with  singular  accuracy  and  sobriety  of 
judgment. 

Since  Challoner's  time  a  very  important  source 
of  information  has  become  available,  the  Public 
Record  Office,  which  contains  many  original  pieces 
referring  to  our  martyrs.  These  have  been  "  calen 
dared,"  but  are  not  yet  published  in  full.  The 
Calendars  for  this  period  (in  unfortunate  contrast  to 
those  for  the  reign  of  Henry  VIII.)  are  very  meagre, 
and  presume  that  the  reader  has  access  to  the 
original  manuscripts. 

Coming  now  to  general  printed  sources,  we  have 
Anthony  aWood's  A  thence  Oxomenses,  not  only  learned, 
but  also  noteworthy  as  the  first  attempt  of  a  non- 
Catholic  to  write  the  Lives  of  the  Martyrs  without 
prejudice.  Dodd's  Church  H istory  is  rich  in  material, 
though  its  accuracy  is  not  to  be  implicitly  trusted. 
In  modern  times  we  have  the  works  of  Mr.  Richard 
Simpson,  who  was  the  first  to  make  extensive  use 
of  the  Record  Office  papers.1  Mr.  Joseph  Gillow's 
1  P.  354- 


INTRODUCTION  xli 


Dictionary  of  English  Catholics  is  indispensable  to 
students,  and  Father  Richard  Stanton's  Menology  of 
England  and  Wales  contains  in  brief  a  great  deal 
of  information  and  many  useful  references.  The 
Dictionary  of  Xational  Biography,  notwithstanding 
certain  defects,  is  for  the  history  of  our  martyrs,  as 
for  the  rest  of  English  History,  one  of  the  most 
important  works  of  the  nineteenth  century.  Brother 
Henry  Foley's  voluminous  Records  of  the  English 
Province  of  the  Society  of  Jesus  is  valuable  for  the 
large  number  of  papers  quoted  and  persons  men 
tioned.  The  Records  concern  not  Jesuits  only,  but 
Catholics  of  every  class. 

Section  XI.      Writers  of  the  Present  Volume. 

As  the  table  of  contents  will  show,  the  majority 
of  these  Lives  has  been  written  by  the  late  Father 
Edward  S.  Keogh.  The  task  of  revising  and  bringing 
them  up  to  date  has,  as  the  reader  will  see,  been 
most  ably  discharged  by  the  Editor,  Dom  Bede 
Camm.  His  ill-health  somewhat  retarded  the  publi 
cation  of  the  volume,  and  the  mere  fact  of  my  having 
written  this  Introduction  in  his  stead — (I  should 
add  that  I  am  also  responsible  for  a  share  in  the 
correction  of  the  proofs  and  some  other  collabora 
tion) — is  in  itself  an  indication  that  his  unfitness 
for  work  was  serious  and  prolonged.  Happily  a 
change  for  the  better  has  at  last  taken  place,  and 
I  may  now  congratulate  him  on  his  recovery. 

The  thoroughness  of  the  work  speaks  for  itself, 
and  will,  I  trust,  enable  it  to  rank  as  a  standard 


INTRODUCTION 


authority  on  the  Lives  of  our  Martyrs.  When  we 
compare  this  edition  of  the  Lives  with  the  last 
standard  edition  of  them,  that  of  Dr.  Challoner,  we 
find  not  only  that  the  bulk  has  increased  five-fold, 
but  also  that  the  information  contained  is  multiplied 
an  even  greater  number  of  times.  Every  effort, 
moreover,  has  been  made  to  give  or  to  indicate  all 
that  is  known  about  each  martyr,  except  in  the  case 
of  Campion,  where  omissions  were  inevitable.  This 
task  was  the  more  difficult  seeing  that  so  much  of 
the  material  was  still  inedited.  I  will  conclude  by 
expressing  the  hope  in  the  name  of  all  cultores 
martyrnm  that  our  recently  formed  "Catholic  Record 
Society  "  will  ere  long  undertake  the  task  of  bringing 
out  a  complete  collection  of  these  valuable  but 
inedited  papers,  to  which  might  well  be  added  the 
extremely  rare  and  indispensable  printed  tracts,  such 
as  the  often  quoted  Brief e  Historie  of  twelve  Reverend 
Priests,  of  which  there  is  perhaps  not  a  single  copy 
in  any  Catholic  library. 

The  work  is  concluded  by  an  Index  the  fulness 
and  lucidity  of  which  will  be  welcome  to  all 
readers,  and  especially  to  those  who  know  best 
what  good  index-work  is.  In  their  names  I  heartily 
thank  Miss  Gunning,  who  has  spent  an  infinity  of 
labour  and  skill  in  its  compilation. 

J.  H.  POLLEN,  S.J. 


I. 

THE   BLESSED   JOHN   FELTON. 

London,  St.  Paul's  Churchyard,  8  August,  1570. 

DURING  the  latter  part  of  1569  formal  proceedings 
were  carried  on  at  Rome  against  Elizabeth.  She 
had  undoubtedly  deserved  the  censures  of  the  Holy 
See  by  her  tyranny  and  persecution,  and  above 
all  because  she  had  forced  her  realm  into  heresy 
and  had  refused  all  communication  with  the 
Supreme  Pastor.  Evidence  was  given  against  her 
by  Goldwell,  Bishop  of  St.  Asaph,  Maurice  Clenock, 
Bishop-Elect  of  Bangor,  Dr.  Nicholas  Morton,  pre 
bendary  of  York,  and  a  number  of  other  ecclesiastics, 
and  at  length  sentence  of  excommunication  and 
deposition  was  pronounced  against  her  by  the  holy 
Pontiff  St.  Pius  V.,  and  published  in  a  Bull  dated 
the  25th  of  February,  1569-70. 

Elizabeth  and  her  ministers  affected  indifference 
to  the  Pope's  sentence.  There  is,  however,  quite 
sufficient  evidence  that  whatever  she  may  have 
thought  of  its  spiritual  effects,  she  was  by  no  means 
indifferent  to  its  political  results.  In  the  Europe  of 
the  sixteenth  century  there  were  still  Catholic 
powers  who  might  be  ready  to  execute  the  sentence 

B  II. 


BLESSED   JOHN   FELTON 


of  deposition  which  was  in  those  days  the  corollary 
of  the  excommunication,  and  the  insurrection  which 
she  had  just  quenched  in  blood  was  proof  that  a 
Protestant  and  persecuting  Government  did  not  as 
yet  rest  on  a  secure  basis  in  England. 

It  is  easy  then  to  understand  the  sensation 
created  in  London  when,  with  the  morning  light 
of  Thursday,  May  the  25th  (the  feast  of  Corpus 
Christi),1  the  Bull  of  Excommunication  was  found 
fastened  to  the  gates  of  the  Bishop  of  London's 
palace  beside  St.  Paul's  Cathedral.  There  for  several 
hours  it  was  seen  and  read  and  even  copied  by  a 
great  many  persons. 

Vigorous  steps  were  at  once  taken  to  find  out 
the  doer  of  this  daring  deed.  A  general  search  of 
known  Catholic  houses  in  and  near  London  was 
soon  rewarded  by  the  discovery  of  a  copy  of  the 
Bull  in  the  chambers  of  a  lawyer  in  Lincoln's  Inn, 
a  well-known  Catholic.  He  was  absent  at  the  time, 
but  was  soon  secured.  The  methods  of  Elizabeth's 
reign  were  unceremonious.  He  was  racked  without 
any  tedious  forms  of  law,  and  under  the  agony 
confessed  that  he  had  received  the  copy  from  his 
friend,  Mr.  Felton.2 

1  Dixon  points  out  that  "  it  is  curious  that  three  dates  have  been 
given  for  Felton's  exploit."      Strype  gives  March  2;    Stow  gives 
May  25,  and  Catholic  writers  give  June  2,  Corpus  Christi   day. 
Dixon  adds,  "  Undoubtedly  it  was  June,"  and  refers  to  the  letter  of 
de  Guaras  quoted  below.  (Vol.  vi.  p.  270.)     Lingard  gives  May  15 
as  the  date.     Corpus  Christi  day  in  1570  fell  on  May  25. 

2  A     Spanish     agent,     Don     Antonio     de    Guaras,     wrote     as 
follows,  June  17,  1570  (Spanish  Calendar,  1568 — 1579,  p.  251)  :  "The 
declaration  of  the  Pope  against  the  Queen  has  been  posted  on  the 
Bishop  of  London's  gate,  which  has  caused  great  sorrow  to  the  bad 


BLESSED   JOHN   FELTON 


The  Blessed  John  Felton  was  a  well-known  and 
wealthy  Catholic.  He  was  of  a  Norfolk  family,  but 
he  lived  at  Bermondsey  Abbey,  near  Southwark,  a 
mansion  built  a  generation  before  on  the  site  and 
out  of  the  materials  of  a  great  Cluniac  monastery.1 
His  wife  had  been  the  playmate  of  the  Queen,  when 
they  were  both  children,  and  afterwards  a  maid  of 
honour  to  Queen  Mary.  He  is  described  as  a  man 
of  short  stature,  dark  complexion  ;  and  an  ardent 
excitable  temperament, — stirred  chiefly,  as  friend 
and  foe  alike  declare,  by  whatever  touched  the 
interests  of  religion.  His  courage  and  zeal  were  so 
well  known  that  when  it  was  thought  desirable 
that  the  excommunication  should  be  published  in 
England  he  was  asked  to  undertake  the  dangerous 

people  and  much  delight  to  the  godly,  who  are  convinced  that  as  a 
consequence  of  it,  a  redress  for  their  evils  will  follow  by  the  arms 
of  Christian  Princes,  since  this  declaration  can  only  have  been  made 
by  the  consent  of  such  Princes,  and  especially  of  his  Majesty.  The 
first  results  of  the  declaration  had  been  the  persecution  and 
imprisonment  of  Catholics;  but  the  Council  rinding  them  constant, 
and  that  some  people  of  position  were  passing  over  to  Spain  and 
Flanders  to  escape  the  ban  of  His  Holiness,  the  Queen  had  ordered 
that  the  Catholics  should  not  be  persecuted  for  their  religion.  This 
however  was  only  the  result  of  fear,  as  her  heart  is  much  corrupted, 
and  she  herself  had  answered  the  Pope's  declaration  in  Latin  verse, 
scoffing  at  the  apostolic  authority,  saying  that  the  boat  of  St.  Peter 
should  never  enter  a  port  of  hers,  and  other  heresies  of  a  like 
nature." 

1  The  monastery  was  granted  by  Henry  VIII.  to  Sir  Robert 
Southwell  in  1541.  He  sold  it  to  Sir  Thomas  Pope,  who  threw 
down  the  church  and  part  of  the  monastery  and  built  the  mansion, 
and  then  re-sold  it  to  Sir  Robert  Southwell  in  1555.  It  does  not 
appear  whether  it  had  become  Blessed  John  Felton's  property.  But 
later  it  belonged  to  the  Earl  of  Sussex,  who  was  living  there  in  1578 
and  died  there  in  1583.  (Dugdale's  Monasticon,  vol.  v.  p.  93.) 


BLESSED   JOHN  FELTON 


task.  His  daughter,  in  a  MS.  relation1  still  extant, 
declares  that  "the  danger  of  such  an  employment 
which  he  took  for  an  act  of  virtue,  daunted  him  not 
a  whit.  Whereupon  promising  his  best  endeavours 
in  that  behalf,  he  had  the  Bull  delivered  him  at 
Calais,  and  after  the  receipt  thereof  came  presently 
to  London,  where  being  assisted  with  one  Lawrence 
Webb,2  doctor  of  the  civil  and  Canon  Laws,  the  five 
and  twentieth  day  of  May,  1570,  betwixt  two  and 
three  of  the  clock  in  the  morning  he  set  it  upon  the 
gate  of  the  Bishop  of  London  his  palace."  Sander3 
tells  us  that  his  companion — he  does  not  name  him, 
for  he  wrote  in  the  following  year,  and  it  would  not 
have  been  prudent— entreated  him  at  once  to  fly 
from  the  country  as  he  was  about  to  do  himself; 
but  Felton  refused ;  the  grace  of  martyrdom  was 
stirring  within  him,  and  he  declared  that  by  God's 
grace  he  was  ready  for  whatever  might  happen. 

The  trial  of  his  constancy  was  not  long  delayed. 
At  an  early  hour,  on  the  morning  after  his  friend's 
racking,  the  neighbourhood  was  roused  by  the  clang 
of  arms  and  the  tramp  of  soldiers.  The  abbey  was 

1  This  MS.  is  preserved  in  the  Archives  of   the  see  of  West 
minster,  vol.  ii.  p.  3.    It  is  headed,  Ex  relatione  D.  Francisco:  Salisbury 
filice  ipsius  Martyris,  accepta  ab  ejus  ore  per  G.  Ferrarum,  Presb.  an.  1627. 
An   English   translation   of    the    document  has    been    printed  in 
Pollen's  Acts  of  English  Martyrs,  pp.  208—212. 

2  Dr.  Webb  was  ordained  priest  in  Queen  Mary's  reign.     On 
Elizabeth's  accession  he  went  abroad  and  was  one  of  the  most 
respected  of  the  exiles.    He  was  for  many  years  professor  of  Moral 
Theology  and  Sacred  Ceremonies  at  Douay  and  Rheims,  and  after 
keeping  his  full  jubilee  of  priesthood,  died  at  Douay,  January  14, 
1608.  (Dodd,  ii.  p.  382.) 

3  De  Visibili  Monarchia,  p.  734.     (ist  Edition.) 


BLESSED   JOHN   FELTON 


quickly  surrounded  by  five  hundred  halberdiers, 
with  their  officers,  headed  by  the  Lord  Chief 
Justice,  the  Lord  Mayor,  and  the  two  Sheriffs. 
The  martyr  and  his  wife,  drawn  to  a  window  by 
the  noise  of  the  armed  men,  saw  them  preparing 
to  break  in  the  gate.  Mrs.  Felton  fell  down  in  a 
swoon,  but  the  brave  and  courteous  gentleman 
called  to  them  from  the  window  "  to  have  patience, 
saying  he  knew  they  came  for  him,  and  he  would 
come  down  unto  them,"  which  he  did,  himself 
opening  the  door,  and  bidding  them  welcome.  He 
was  immediately  arrested,  and  remained  a  prisoner 
nearly  three  months.  Both  at  his  apprehension 
and  at  his  trial1  he  said  he  would  save  all  further 
trouble  by  acknowledging  that  it  was  he  who  had 
posted  up  the  Bull,  and  also  that  as  he  held  the 
Pope  to  be  the  Vicar  of  Jesus  Christ  on  earth,  if 
it  really  came  from  him  it  ought  to  be  duly 
venerated.  But  in  spite  of  his  open  acknowledg 
ment  of  the  act,  he  was  three  times  racked  with  the 
vain  hope  of  extracting  from  him  admissions  which 
might  compromise  others. 

The  entry  of  the  Council  Order  for  his  torture 
is  as  follows  :  - 

"  25th  June,  1570. 

"  A  letter  to  Sir  Thomas  Wroth  and  others,  her 
Majesty's  Commissioners  for  the  examination  of 
the  Bull.  Where  by  their  letters  it  appeareth  that 
John  Felton  being  charged  by  William  Mellowes 
both  for  the  having  of  the  printed  Bull  and  speech 

1  Sander,  ibid.       -  Dasent,  Acts  of  the  Privy  Council,  vol.  vii.  p.  373. 


BLESSED   JOHN   FELTON 


also  with  the  Spanish  Ambassador  he  utterly  denieth 
it  and  will  in  no  wise  confess  the  truth.  For  the 
boulting  out  of  the  truth  thereof  their  Lordships 
think  it  convenient  that  he  be  delivered  to  the 
Lieutenant  of  the  Tower,1  whereby  he  may  be 
brought  to  the  place  of  torture  and  so  put  in  fear 
thereof.  And  if  they  shall  perceive  him  to  be 
obstinate  and  will  in  no  wise  confess  that  which  is 
to  be  demanded  of  him,  that  then  to  spare  not  to 
lay  him  upon  it,  to  the  end  he  may  feel  such  smart 
and  pains  thereof  as  to  their  discretion  shall  be 
thought  convenient."' 

A  period  of  over  two  months  followed,  during 
which  every  effort  was  made  to  "  boult  out  "  the 
truth  about  his  communications  with  the  Spanish 
Ambassador,  Don  Guerau  de  Spes.3 

But  it  is  clear  that  nothing  was  discovered  which 
would  enable  Elizabeth's  Government  to  treat  our 
martyr  as  a  merely  political  offender.  We  can 
see  this  from  the  pamphlets  published  under  their 
inspiration,  which  show  that  the  motives  for  con- 

1  From  this  it  appears  that  at  first  he  was  confined  in  some 
other  prison,  probably  Newgate,  as  it  was  there  he  was  taken  after 
his  trial. 

2  Yet  Dixon  (vol.  vi.  p.  273)  says  that   the  story  of  his  racking 
"seems  improbable.     Felton  owned  the  fact,  then  why  should  he 
have  been  put  on  the  rack  to  extort  a  further  confession  ?"  &c.   It  is 
strange  that  the  historian  should  have  overlooked  this  letter. 

3  He  must  not  be  confounded  with  the  agent  Antonio  de  Guaras. 
The   latter  was   a   banker   or   merchant  living   in    England,    who 
corresponded  with  the  Duke  of  Alba,  and  after  the  expulsion  of  the 
Ambassador  in  December,  1571,  was  instructed  to  look  after  Spanish 
interests  informally.      See  Hume's  Introduction  to  Spanish  Calendar 
(1568 — 1579),  p.  xxxviii. 


BLESSED   JOHN   FELTON 


demning  him  to  death  were  mainly  religious. 
Moreover,  we  have  now  access  to  a  considerable 
number  of  the  Spanish  Ambassador's  papers,  and 
from  these  it  is  clear  that  Felton  had  nothing  to  do 
with  the  procuring  of  the  Bull,  or  with  any  con 
spiracy  against  the  Government. 

It  is  evident  too  that  he  was  not  animated  by 
any  personal  ill-will  to  the  Queen,  but  solely  with 
the  desire  that  justice  should  be  done  against  the 
fautors  of  heresy.  His  motives  and  his  action  were 
in  accordance  with  the  ideas  that  had  so  long  been 
current  in  Europe,  and  which  were  still  held,  even 
in  England,  by  men  who  did  not  dare  to  confess 
their  opinions. 

It  is  pretty  certain  that  Felton  received  the 
Bull  from  Ridolfi.  This  man  was  subsequently 
involved  in  intrigues  of  a  secret  and  not  very  com 
mendable  character,  but  it  is  clear  that  these 
intrigues  were  the  result  of  Elizabeth's  cruel  perse 
cution  of  the  Catholics,  and  not  in  any  sense  the 
occasion,  and  still  less  the  justification  of  her 
repressive  measures.  Nor  is  there  the  least  ground 
for  supposing  that  Felton  was  implicated  in  any 
blame  which  Ridolfi  may  really  deserve.  The  nego 
tiations  which  have  brought  discredit  on  the  latter 
took  place  in  Spain,  a  year  after  our  martyr's  death.1 

1  See  Father  Pollen's  article  in  The  Month,  February,  1902. 
Dixon  says  that  the  Bull  was  received  or  brought  from  abroad  by 
Peter  Berga,  the  chaplain  of  Don  Guerau  de  Spes,  the  Spanish 
Ambassador,  who  was  by  birth  a  Catalan  and  prebendary  of 
Tarragona  Gabutio  (Vita  Pii  Quinti,  p.  104)  says  that  it  got  into 
England  through  Ridolfi ,  from  whom  Felton,  among  others,  got 
a  copy,  and  that  many  were  put  to  death  for  making  copies  of  it. 
(Dixon,  vi.  pp.  270  and  272,  note.) 


BLESSED   JOHN   FELTON 


His  trial  took  place  on  Friday,  August  the  4th, 
at  the  Guildhall.  There  could  be  no  doubt  about 
the  result,  for  he  openly  acknowledged  the  act  with 
which  he  was  charged.  But  he  took  advantage  of 
the  occasion  to  make  public  declaration  of  his  faith 
in  the  Supremacy  of  the  Holy  See,  or  in  the 
language  of  the  persecutors,  "  most  traitorously 
denied  the  Queen's  Supremacy  with  other  heinous 
and  traitorous  words  against  the  Queen's  Majesty, 
not  worthy  to  be  rehearsed."1 

His  martyrdom  was  consummated  on  the 
following  Tuesday,  August  the  8th.2  The  peace 
of  his  last  hours  was  invaded  by  "two  or  three  godly 
and  learned  preachers,"  who  tormented  him  to  the 
best  of  their  power  with  "divers  good  and  learned 
arguments  as  well  out  of  divers  and  sundry  places 
of  the  Scriptures,  as  also  out  of  the  ancient 
Fathers,  the  doctors  of  the  Church."  Remem 
bering  his  natural  character,  we  can  imagine  what 
an  ordeal  this  must  have  been  for  his  patience.  The 
preachers  reported  that  "  he  answered  arrogantly," 
and  when,  no  doubt,  wearied  out,  he  gave  over 
answering  them,  they,  or  the  author  of  the  pamphlet 
from  which  we  are  quoting,  say  that  "  being  over- 

1  "  The  End  and  Confession  of  John  Felton,  the  rank  traitor,  who  set 
up  the  traitorous  Bull  on  the  Bishop  of  London's  gate.     Who  suffered, 
before  the  same  gate,  for  High  Treason  against  the  Queen's  Majesty,  the 
8th  day  of  August,  1570.     By  J.  Partridge,     Imprinted  at  London, 
by  Rd.  Johnes  and  Tho.  Colwill,  1570."    Reprinted   in  Cobbett's 
State  Trials,  vol.  i.  1086. 

2  "The  day  and  the  hour  of  the  execution  were  unusual  ones 
for  fear  of  the  people,"  wrote  Antonio  de  Guaras.  (Spanish  Calendar, 
P-  267.) 


BLESSED   JOHN   FELTON 


come,  he  could  say  no  more."  Then  they  took  him 
to  task  for  his  "treasons,"  and  then  came  another 
preacher  or  disputant,  who  "willed  him  to  remember 
himself  and  put  his  trust  in  Christ's  death,  and 
thereby  only  hope  to  be  saved."  And  again  he 
"  answered  arrogantly  that  he  believed  the  ancient 
and  Catholic  faith,  which  the  Sovereign  Pontiff  hath 
ever  defended,  and  that  whosoever  believed  any 
other  faith  or  held  any  other  opinion  it  was  most 
wicked  and  erroneous." 

At  length  the  hour  appointed  for  his  martyrdom 
freed  him  from  the  persecution  of  the  preachers. 
As  he  came  down  the  steps  of  his  prison  to  the 
hurdle  on  which  he  was  to  be  laid,  he  found  a  crowd 
of  people  assembled.  Imprisonment  and  racking 
had  not  cowed  his  manly  courage,  nor  cooled  his 
zeal  for  God's  cause,  and  no  one  who  saw  him  come 
out  in  his  satin  doublet,  and  with  his  bold  step, 
would  have  imagined  he  was  going  to  a  cruel  death. 
Before  lying  down  upon  the  hurdle,  he  took  off  his 
doublet,  and  then,  addressing  the  people,  told  them 
"  he  was  going  to  die  for  the  Catholic  faith  and 
because  he  acknowledged  the  Primacy  of  the 
Sovereign  Pontiff  and  denied  the  pretended  Queen 
to  be  the  supreme  head  of  the  Church."  Then  he 
was  bound  upon  the  hurdle  or  dray,  on  which,  with 
many  a  rude  bump,  and  covered  with  the  thick  dust 
and  mud  of  the  bad  roads,  he  was  drawn  to  the 
place  of  execution.  On  the  way  he  recited  aloud 
the  Penitential  Psalms.  As  they  turned  into 
St.  Paul's  Churchyard,  they  came  in  view  of  the 
scaffold  which  had  been  erected  for  the  martyrdom. 


BLESSED   JOHN   FELTON 


It  was  placed  facing  the  Bishop  of  London's  gates, 
on  which  Blessed  John  had  posted  the  Apostolic 
sentence,  not  out  of  party  spirit  or  reckless  bravado, 
but  as  an  act  of  religious  and  filial  devotion  to  the 
Church  of  Christ  and  His  Vicar,  and  clearly  fore 
seeing  the  peril  of  the  forfeit  he  was  now  about  to 
pay.  On  the  scaffold  were  arrayed  all  the  instru 
ments  of  the  butchery  that  was  to  be  done :  the 
grim  gallows,  the  fire  into  which  his  bowels  were  to 
be  cast  before  his  eyes,  the  butcher's  knife  that  was 
to  do  its  cruel  work  upon  his  body,  the  cauldron  in 
which  his  limbs  were  to  be  half-boiled,  and  the 
quartering-block. 

At  the  sight  of  these  ghastly  preparations  there 
came  over  the  blessed  martyr  a  trial  specially 
humiliating  and  grievous  to  a  brave  man,  the 
unwonted  sense  of  fear  and  quailing  of  the  heart. 
Our  Blessed  Lord  was  pleased  to  endure  it  for  the 
encouragement  and  consolation  of  His  servants — 
ccepit  pavere  et  tczdere,1  He  began  to  fear  and  to  be 
heavy, — and  perhaps  He  allowed  Blessed  John  to 
experience  it  in  order  that  his  sacrifice  might  not 
be  lessened  by  his  natural  fearlessness.  At  any  rate, 
he  was  able  quickly  to  shake  it  off,  and  crying 
to  himself,  "  What  is  this, — art  thou  afraid  of 
death  ?  "  he  pointed  to  the  Bishop's  gate,  and  said 
aloud  as  if  contented  that  his  work  was  done,  "The 
Sovereign  Pontiff's  letters  against  the  pretended 
Queen  were  duly  exhibited  there,  and  now  I  am 
prepared  to  die  for  the  Catholic  Faith."  Some  of 
the  bystanders  called  upon  him  to  ask  the  Queen's 

1  St.  Mark  xiv.  33. 


BLESSED   JOHN   FELTON 


forgiveness.  "  I  have  done  her  no  injury,"  he 
answered,  ''but  if  I  have  injured  any  one,  I  ask 
for  forgiveness  of  him,  and  for  the  matter  of  that 
of  the  whole  world."  And  then  to  show  that  no 
bitterness  lurked  in  his  heart  against  her,  he  took 
from  his  fingers  a  precious  diamond  which  he  was 
accustomed  to  wear,  valued  at  £400  of  the  money  of 
that  day,  and  gave  it  to  the  Earl  of  Sussex,  who 
was  present,  to  be  delivered  to  the  Queen  from 
him. 

He  then  knelt  and  recited  the  Miserere,  and 
rising,  went  up  the  ladder.  As  he  pronounced  the 
words,  In  manns  tnas  Domine  commendo  spiritum 
meum,  he  was  thrown  off.  The  hangman  was 
inclined  to  spare  him  by  leaving  him  hanging  till 
he  was  dead,  but  the  Sheriff  insisted  on  his  being 
immediately  cut  down  so  that  he  might  undergo 
the  rest  of  the  sentence  whilst  yet  alive  ;  and  his 
daughter  relates  that  while  Bull  the  executioner  had 
his  hand  on  his  heart  to  tear  it  out  he  twice  called 
on  the  holy  Name  of  Jesus. 

The  martyr's  constancy  is  the  prevailing  idea  in 
a  very  hostile  ballad  published  fifteen  days  after  his 
death,  from  which  we  learn  a  characteristic  incident 
of  his  trial. 

Oh  !  traitorous  heart,  oh  martyr  vile 
Such  martyrs  nowadays 

Would  fain  be  made  to  mortar  thin 
To  stop  the  hollow  ways. 

He  never  once  relented  this 

Not  once  before  his  death 
But  as  malicious  traitor  he 

On  gallows  gave  his  breath. 


12  BLESSED   JOHN   F ELTON 

Where,  as  he  said  in  midst  Guild  Hall 

Before  the  judgment  seat 
That  they  might  well  his  body  take 

But  more  could  never  get. l 

His  property,  chiefly  in  plate  and  jewels,  valued 
at  £33,000,  was  confiscated  to  the  Queen,  who 
however  was  so  far  mindful  of  her  old  regard  for 
the  widow,  as  graciously  to  license  her  by  letters 
patent  to  have  a  priest  in  her  house  as  long  as 
she  lived.  So  writes  his  daughter  Frances,  who 
afterwards  married  a  Mr.  Salisbury,  in  her  Relation 
above  referred  to.  We  find  mention  of  one  other 
child,  Thomas,  who  was  at  the  time  of  his  father's 
death  a  child  of  but  three  years  old,  and  who 
afterwards  became  a  Friar  Minim,  and,  following  his 
father's  footsteps,  shed  his  blood  for  the  Faith. 

Bishop  Challoner  did  not  number  Blessed  John 
Felton  amongst  the  martyrs  whose  lives  he  wrote, 
looking  upon  the  act  for  which  he  died  as  belonging 
to  the  political  rather  than  the  religious  order.  The 
truer  judgment  of  the  martyr's  own  time  placed  him, 
under  the  sanction  of  Pope  Gregory  XIII.,  with  the 
Blessed  Fisher  and  More,  Mayne  and  Campion  and 
their  companions,  on  the  walls  of  St.  Thomas  de 
Urbe;  and  that  judgment  has  been  confirmed  by 
the  Decree  of  1886.  It  is  not  necessary  to  go  into 
the  question  of  the  excommunication  or  the  deposi 
tion  of  Elizabeth  in  order  to  defend  his  rights  to 

1  "A  pithy  note  to  Papists  all,  and  some  that  joy  in  Felton' s 
martirdome ;  desiring  them  to  read  and  to  judge,  and  not  in  spite  at  simple 
truth  to  grudge,  &c.  Imprinted  at  London,  at  the  long  shop  adjoining 
unto  St.  Mildred's  Church,  in  the  Pultrie,  the  xxiii  of  August,  by 
John  Allde."  See  Registers  of  the  Stationers'  Company,  1570 — 1587. 


BLESSED   JOHN   F ELTON  13 

the  martyr's  crown.  He  shed  his  blood  for  the 
prerogatives  of  Christ's  Vicar,  and  not  merely  to 
bear  witness  to  the  truth  of  his  supreme  authority, 
but  to  secure  that  his  Apostolic  voice  should  be 
heard  and  his  Apostolic  judgment  made  known 
amongst  his  English  flock.  Death  endured  for  that 
cause  was  true  martyrdom. 

E.  S.  K.  and  ED. 


AUTHORITIES.— The  chief  sources  for  the  history  of 
Blessed  John  Felton  are  the  MS.  account  by  his  daughter, 
Mistress  Frances  Salisbury,  and  the  account  by  Sander  in 
his  work,  De  Visibili  Monarchia  Eccltsia:,  1571.  These  have 
been  referred  to  in  the  text.  The  latter  has  been  reprinted 
by  Bridgewater,  Concertatio  (1589),  fol.  41  11—43  A,  and  trans 
lated  into  Spanish  by  Bishop  Yepes,  Historia  particular  (1599), 
pp.  288 — 291. 

The  Protestant  pamphlets  also,  referred  to  above,  in  the 
main  confirm  the  Catholic  accounts  of  the  martyr's  firmness 
and  constancy.  Felton  is  of  course  continually  referred  to  by 
contemporary  writers  and  controversialists  on  either  side. 
See  also  Stow's  Chronicle,  p.  667.  Among  modern  writers  the 
reader  may  consult  Lingard  (v.  p.  120),  Dixon  (vi.  p.  270),  and 
Mr.  Cooper's  account  in  the  Dictionary  of  National  Biography. 
Few  details  however  will  be  found  that  are  not  included  in 
this  life. 


II. 

THE   BLESSED  JOHN   STOREY. 

Tyburn,  i  June,  1571. 

THE  BLESSED  JOHN  STOREY'S  life  has  many  points 
of  resemblance  with  that  of  Blessed  Thomas  More. 
Like  More,  Storey  was  a  layman  and  a  married  man, 
and  yet  both  were  attached  by  close  bonds  to  an 
ancient  Religious  Order ;  like  More,  Storey  was  an 
Oxonian,  and  shed  lustre  on  his  University  both  by 
his  learning  and  his  saintliness ;  like  More,  Storey 
adopted  the  legal  profession,  and  rose  to  great 
eminence  in  it,  and  like  More,  our  martyr  had  to 
suffer  (though  to  a  still  greater  degree)  from  the 
posthumous  attacks  of  Foxe  and  other  Protestant 
writers  for  his  alleged  cruelty  to  the  heretics. 

John  Storey  was  born  about  the  year  1504^  and 
was  the  son  of  Nicholas  Storey  and  Joan  his  wife. 
It  is  almost  certain  that  he  was  a  member  of  a 
family  settled  in  Northumberland  and  Durham,"2 
and  was  connected  with  the  Selby  family. 

Antony  a  Wood  says  he  became  a   Franciscan 

1  Mr.  Pollard  in  the  Dictionary  of  National  Biography  gives  the 
date  of  his  birth  as  1510;  but  the  martyr  at  his  death  said  he  was 
sixty-seven. 

-  Surtees,  Durham,  i.  p.  233.     Cf.  Douay  Diaries,  p.  73. 


BLESSED   JOHN   STOREY  15 

lay-brother,1  and  this  has  been  repeated  in  the 
Dictionary  of  National  Biography,  but  if  it  is  true,  he 
cannot  have  remained  long  with  the  Grey  Friars. 
We  think  it  is  more  probable  that  what  is  meant  is 
that  he  became  a  Tertiary  of  the  Order.  At  any 
rate  he  "  was  educated  in  philosophical  learning  and 
in  the  rudiments  of  the  civil  law  in  an  ancient  hostel 
for  civilians  called  Hinksey  Hall,  in  St.  Aldate's 
parish  in  Oxford."  He  graduated  B.C.L.  the  Sth 
of  May,  1531,  and  made  such  progress  in  his  legal 
studies  that  he  quickly  became  "  the  most  noted 
civilian  and  canonist  of  his  time."  When  Henry 
VIII. 's  commissioners  in  1535  established  certain 
lectures  in  the  University,  they  appointed  John 
Storey  to  read  that  of  the  civil  law,  and  in  1537 
he  was  elected  Principal  of  Broadgates  Hall,  now 
Pembroke  College. 

On  the  2gth  of  July,  1538,  he  graduated  D.C.L.,- 
and  in  1539,  on  resigning  his  position  at  Broad- 
gates  Hall,  he  was  admitted  advocate  of  Doctors' 
Commons. 

The  state  of  religion  in  England  at  the  time  was 
so  disturbed,  with  the  King  in  open  rebellion  against 
the  spiritual  authority  of  the  Holy  See,  changing 
the  ancient  sacred  customs,  suppressing  and  destroy 
ing  the  monasteries,  pillaging  the  churches,  and 
slaying  those  who  remained  faithful  to  the  cause  of 
God,  that  Storey,  who  had  desired  to  be  a  priest, 

1  Athen.  Oxon.  (Edit.  Bliss),  i.  p.  387.    We  follow  a  Wood  for  the 
details  of  Storey's  early  life.     The  Franciscan  historians  are  silent 
as  to  Storey's  connection  with  the  Order. 

2  Reg.  Univ.  Oxon.  i.  164. 


1 6 


BLESSED   JOHN   STOREY 


felt  that  it  would  be  better  and  safer  for  him  to  serve 
God  as  a  layman.  He  therefore,  in  course  of  time, 
married  a  young  lady  named  Joan  Watts,  whose 
fidelity  and  love  were  to  prove  a  support  and  con 
solation  to  him  during  his  troubled  life,  and  to  be 
gratefully  and  tenderly  remembered  at  the  hour  of 
his  cruel  death. 

At  present  however  all  smiled  on  him.  Though 
always  an  ardent  Catholic  at  heart,  he  went  so  far 
with  the  times,  as  to  take  the  Oath  of  Supremacy 
exacted  by  the  laws  of  Henry  VIII.  This  fall  of  his 
was  bitterly  lamented  all  his  life,  and  as  we  shall 
see,  he  considered  that  it  could  never  be  fully 
expiated,  save  by  the  shedding  of  his  blood. 

In  1544  he  was  summoned  to  Boulogne,  which 
was  being  besieged  by  the  English,  who  in  conjunc 
tion  with  the  Emperor  Charles  V.  were  at  war  with 
France.  His  services  were  required  there  however 
not  as  a  warrior,  but  as  a  lawyer.  He  is  said  to  have 
performed  "  such  excellent  service  in  the  adminis 
tration  of  the  civil  law  under  the  Lord  Marshal 
there,  that  the  King  in  consideration  thereof  did 
renew  his  former  grant  of  the  said  lecture  by  letters 
patent  for  the  term  of  his  natural  life."  In  other 
words,  he  was  confirmed  in  his  office  of  Regius 
Professor  of  Civil  Law  in  the  University  of  Oxford, 
and  he  was  the  first  to  hold  that  high  position.  At 
the  same  time  an  assistant  in  the  work  was  given 
him  in  the  person  of  Mr.  Robert  Weston,  who  later 
-on  became  also  his  son-in-law.1 

As  he  was  not  only  a  distinguished  lawyer  and 
1  Le  Neve,  iii. 


BLESSED   JOHN   STOREY  17 

scholar,  but  also  a  most  eloquent  and  persuasive 
speaker,  he  speedily  found  his  way  into  the  House 
of  Commons,  of  which  he  became  one  of  the  leading 
members.  So  weighty,  and  at  the  same  time  winning, 
were  his  speeches  in  the  House,  that  Sander  tells 
us  he  was  considered  by  every  one  facile  princcps 
among  the  members.1 

The  time  was  coming  when  he  would  have  to 
stand  out  from  among  them  as  a  defender  of  the 
Catholic  faith. 

Storey  sat  as  member  for  Hindon  in  Wiltshire 
in  the  first  Parliament  of  Edward  VI.  At  first  he 
seems  to  have  remained  on  good  terms  with  the  new 
Government,  for  on  the  iQth  of  November,  1548, 
the  Privy  Council  gave  the  Treasurer  "  warrant  to 
continue  payment  to  John  Storey  of  his  annuite  for 
reading  of  the  Cyvile  Lecture  in  Oxenford,  and  to 
pay  him  tharerages  [the  arrears]  of  the  same/"- 

But  the  storm  was  just  about  to  burst.  Only 
five  days  later,  on  November  the  24th,  Parliament 
assembled  for  its  second  session.  Its  principal 
business  was  to  sanction  the  changes  of  creed  and 
ceremonial  which  Cranmer  had  long  been  maturing 
and  now  at  last  ventured  to  bring  forward.  The 
old  King  was  gone,  and  there  remained  no  barrier 
against  the  tide  of  heresy  which  threatened  to  over 
flow  the  land.  A  new  English  Liturgy  was  to  be 

1  Sander,  De   Visibili  Monarchia,  lib.  7.     This  is  quoted  in   full 
in  the  Concertatio  of  Bridgewater,  Edit.  1589,  fol.  43,  &c.,  and  also 
in  Spanish  in  Bishop  Yepes'  Historia  particular  (1599),  p.  291,  &c. 
Sander  was  a  friend  of  Storey. 

2  Acts  of  the  Privy  Council,  ii.  229. 

C  II. 


BLESSED   JOHN   STOREY 


substituted  for  the  ancient  service-books  of  the 
Catholic  Church,  the  awful  Sacrifice  of  the  Body 
and  Blood  of  our  Lord  was  to  be  abolished  from 
the  land,  and  heresy  as  well  as  schism  were  to  be 
forced  on  a  reluctant  nation. 

It  was  now  that  Storey  stood  forth  as  the 
champion  of  the  ancient  faith,  with  a  courage  and 
fervour  which  were  but  too  rare  in  the  times  of 
Tudor  tyranny.  The  Act  of  Uniformity  was  not 
brought  forward  until  the  7th  of  January,  1548-9  ; 
but  the  new  Prayer  Book  of  which  the  Act  was  the 
sanction  must  have  been  laid  before  the  House  at 
the  beginning  of  the  Session.  It  naturally  gave  rise 
to  heated  discussions  in  both  Houses,  and  in  the 
Lower,  our  martyr  distinguished  himself  by  the 
learning  and  constancy  with  which  he  opposed  its 
heretical  novelties.1 

The  great  point  at  issue  between  the  Catholic 
and  the  Protestant  party  was  of  course  the  doctrine 
of  the  Blessed  Sacrament  of  the  Altar.  "  On  the 
passing  of  the  Act  in  the  session  of  1547  for  com 
munion  in  both  kinds,  a  service  had  been  put  out 
in  which  the  Catholic  doctrine  was  maintained 
substantially  intact;  but  heresy  and  orthodoxy 
changed  places  rapidly,  and  among  the  reforming 
clergy  Lutheranism  was  fast  disappearing.  .  .  . 
'  On  the  I4th  of  December,'  Bartholomew  Traheron 
wrote  to  Bullinger,  '  a  disputation  was  held  on  the 
Eucharist  in  the  presence  of  almost  the  whole 

1  For  a  learned  and  exhaustive  estimate  of  this  book,  its  history 
and  origin,  see  Gasquet  and  Bishop,  The  first  Prayerbook  of  Edward 
VI. 


BLESSED   JOHN   STOREY  I9. 

nobility ;  the  battle  was  sharply  fought  by  the 
bishops ;  Canterbury,  contrary  to  expectation, 
maintained  your  opinion  (the  Zwinglian)  ;  truth 
never  obtained  a  brighter  victory.  .  .  .'  '  Every 
day,'  wrote  Peter  Martyr,  'the  question  is  dis 
cussed  among  the  Lords,  with  such  disputing  of 
bishops  as  was  never  heard  ;  the  Commons  throng 
ing  the  Lords'  galleries  to  hear  the  arguments.'"1 
Among  those  who  hung  upon  these  debates  with  the 
most  painful  interest  was  our  martyr. 

When  the  Bill  was  introduced  in  the  House 
of  Commons,  he  spoke  out  boldly  against  it. 
He  revolted  against  the  indecent  haste  with  which 
Cranmer  and  his  colleagues  were  destroying  the 
old  religion,  in  the  name  of  an  infant  Sovereign. 
11  Woe  to  thee,  O  land,"  he  cried,  in  the  words  of 
holy  writ,  "  Woe  to  thee,  O  land,  whose  King  is  a 
child.'"-  This  speech  seems  to  have  been  delivered 
at  the  time  of  the  third  reading  of  the  bill  that 
established  the  English  liturgy,  on  the  2ist  of 
January,  1548-9.  The  freedom  with  which  he 
spoke  gave  such  offence,  that  the  House  decreed 
that  he  should  be  committed  a  prisoner  to  the 
custody  of  the  Sergeant.3  The  journal  of  the  House 
repeated  the  order  next  day,  and  on  the  next,  articles 
of  accusation  were  read  against  him.  It  was 
ordered  on  the  following  day  that  he  should  be 
committed  a  prisoner  to  the  Tower.  His  wife 
soon  afterwards  presented  a  petition  to  the  House 

1  Froude,  iv.  pp.  385,  386.  '-'  Eccles.  x.  16. 

3  Journals  of  the  House  of  Commons,  vol.  i.  p.  6.     Cf.  Hallam,  i.  365 
(1827  Edit.). 


20  BLESSED   JOHN   STOREY 


in  his  favour,  which  was  referred  to  the  Protector. 
On  February  the  2Oth  we  find  that  letters  from 
Storey  in  the  Tower  were  read  in  the  House. 
These  were  probably  not  deemed  satisfactory,  for  it 
is  not  till  March  the  2nd  that  we  find  in  the  journal 
an  entry  of  a  letter  from  Mr.  Storey  with  his  sub 
mission.  An  order  immediately  follows  that  "the 
King's  Privy  Council  in  the  nether  house  shall 
humbly  declare  unto  the  lord  protector's  grace  that 
the  resolution  of  the  house  is  that  Mr.  Storey  shall 
be  enlarged  and  at  liberty,  out  of  prison ;  and  to 
require  the  King's  majesty  to  forgive  him  his 
offences  in  this  case  towards  his  majesty  and  his 
council."  l 

The  case  has  attracted  attention  because  it  is 
the  first  recorded  instance  of  a  member's  commit 
ment  by  order  of  the  House.  "  It  is  also  remarkable," 
says  Hallam,  "  that  the  Commons  by  their  sole 
authority  should  commit  their  burgess  first  to  their 
own  officer  and  next  to  the  Tower,  and  that  upon 
his  submission  they  inform  the  Protector  of  their 
resolution  to  discharge  him  out  of  custody,  recom 
mending  him  to  forgiveness  as  to  his  offence  against 
the  council,  which,  as  they  must  have  been  aware, 
the  privilege  of  Parliament  as  to  words  spoken 
within  its  walls  .  .  .  would  extend  to  cover." 

The  Act  of  Uniformity  of  course  passed,  as 
Storey,  in  spite  of  his  brave  resistance,  must  have 
foreseen  that  it  would.  To  use  Sander's  significant 
words  :  "  There  was  no  other  way  to  the  plundering 
of  the  chalices,  the  silver  pixes,  the  crucifixes,  the 

1  Journals  of  the  House  of  Commons,  vol.  i.  p.  9. 


BLESSED   JOHN   STOREY 


ewers  and  other  sacred  vessels,  the  candlesticks  of 
silver  and  of  brass,  the  sacred  vestments  of  woven 
gold,  the  silk  banners,  the  money  given  for  the  pro 
vision  of  wax,  oil  and  everything  else  used  in  the 
worship  of  God.  And  lastly,  it  was  the  only  excuse 
to  give  for  seizing  upon  the  money  and  lands  given 
for  the  maintenance  of  that  worship,  and  for  con 
verting  them  into  profane  uses  of  private  persons."1 

"  The  magnitude  of  the  innovation,"  writes 
Froude,  "  can  now  with  difficulty  be  appreciated 
when  the  novelty  of  the  sixteenth  century  has  in  its 
turn  been  consecrated  by  time.  Of  the  strange 
features  of  the  change  the  strangest  was  perhaps 
that  the  official  opinion  of  Convocation  was  scarcely 
asked  even  in  form.  Parliament  now  discussed 
the  faith  of  England,  and  laymen  decided  on  the 
doctrine  which  the  clergy  were  compelled  to 
teach."2 

If  we  may  trust  Dodd's  account,  Storey  after 
purging  himself  from  his  contempt  on  his  knees 
before  the  House,  retired  to  the  country,  where 
"  he  appeared  very  forward  in  opposing  all  inno 
vations,  and  hindering  the  people  in  his  neighbour 
hood  from  plundering  and  making  a  prey  of  the 
goods  of  the  Church  ;  to  which  purpose  (being  a 
justice  of  the  peace)  he  made  a  very  warm  harangue 
at  one  of  the  quarterly  meetings.  This  behaviour 
being  carried  to  Court,  he  was  severely  threatened, 
and  soon  after  obliged  to  withdraw  into  Flanders, 
where  he  remained  the  rest  of  King  Edward  VI. 's 

1  Sander,  Anglican  Schism  (Edit.  1877),  p.  173. 
'  History  of  England,  vol.  iv.  p.  382. 


BLESSED   JOHN   STOREY 


reign."1  Whether  this  be  so  or  not,  certain  it  is 
that  he  soon  found  that  England  under  the  present 
regime  was  no  place  for  him,  and  he  retired  into 
exile  to  a  land  where  the  exercise  of  the  Catholic 
religion  was  not  prohibited,  and  where  he  could 
assist  freely  at  the  Adorable  Sacrifice  of  the  Mass. 

He  was  warmly  welcomed  at  Louvain,  where 
he  took  up  his  abode,  and  at  once  became  a 
member  of  that  distinguished  University.2  Here 
he  found  other  English  exiles  for  the  Faith, 
such  as  the  famous  Nicholas  Harpsfield,  William 
Rastall,  nephew  of  Sir  Thomas  More,  and  Antonio 
Bonvisi,  the  noble-hearted  friend  of  that  blessed 
martyr,  who  ministered  to  him  of  his  substance  as 
he  lay  in  the  Tower  of  London.  Storey,  like  More, 
became  an  intimate  friend  of  the  old  Italian 
merchant,  and  when  he  made  his  will  in  1552  he 
appointed  his  "  great  and  special  friend,  Anthonie 
Bonvice,"  to  be  overseer  or  executor. 

The  will  is  very  edifying  reading,  and  we  have 
printed  it  in  full  in  the  Appendix.  It  seems  to  have 
been  the  martyr's  custom  to  begin  whatever  he 

1  Dodd,  part  iv.  bk.  ii.  art.  vi.  p.  165. 

-  At  the  ter-centenary  of  the  Bodleian  Library  in  1902,  the 
University  of  Louvain  sent  an  address  to  her  elder  sister  of  Oxford, 
dwelling  on  the  ties  that  from  very  early  times  had  united  the  two 
seats  of  learning.  In  this  address  occurs  the  following  allusion  to 
Storey  :  "Then,  again,  how  many  of  your  scholars  and  professors 
in  the  sixteenth  century,  during  the  religious  dissensions  which 
broke  out  in  England,  retired  to  the  Louvain  University  and 
adorned  it  by  their  writing  and  teaching,  as  testified  by  the  annals 
of  the  times  ?  Among  these  were  Thomas  Harding,  .  .  .  Nicholas 
Sander,  John  Storey,  .  .  .  and  many  others  whom  it  would  be  too 
long  to  enumerate  here."  (See  Dublin  Review,  April,  1903,  p.  287.) 


BLESSED   JOHN   STOREY  23 

wrote  with  the  holy  name  of  "  Emmanuel,"  and  so 
this  will  begins.  His  prayers  for  the  conversion  of 
England,  his  contrition  for  his  sin  in  acknowledging 
an  earthly  King  as  Supreme  Head  of  the  Church, 
his  firm  faith  and  deep  penitence  are  very  touching. 
This  document  portrays  to  us  the  man  as  he  really 
was,  and  helps  us  to  reckon  at  their  true  value 
the  ferocious  calumnies  circulated  against  him  by 
his  enemies.  It  will  be  noted  that  he  desired  to  be 
buried  in  the  church  of  the  Franciscans  at  Louvain, 
and  that  he  left  legacies  both  to  that  community 
and  to  the  Carthusians.  He  had  indeed  a  great 
devotion  to  both  these  Orders,  and  the  greater  part 
of  his  time  at  Louvain  was  spent  in  prayer  and 
penitential  exercises  at  the  Charterhouse.  The 
other  point  worthy  of  notice  in  the  will  is  the 
promise  which  he  had  exacted  of  his  wife  never  to 
return  to  England  until  it  was  restored  to  the  unity 
of  the  Church.  He  was  determined  that  by  God's 
grace  neither  he  nor  his  should  ever  again  run  the 
risk  of  making  shipwreck  of  the  faith. 

After  the  earl)7  death  of  King  Edward  VI.  and 
the  accession  of  his  Catholic  sister,  Storey  and  his 
family  returned  to  England,  about  August,  1553. 

His  patent  as  Regius  Professor  was  renewed, 
but  he  resigned  it  before  the  end  of  the  year  in 
order  to  undertake  more  important  duties ;  being 
appointed  Chancellor  of  the  dioceses  of  London  and 
Oxford,  and  Dean  of  the  Arches. 

These  appointments  resulted  inevitably  in  his 
taking  a  prominent  part  in  the  suppression  of 
heresy,  which  threatened  at  once  the  spiritual  and 


24  BLESSED   JOHN  STOREY 

temporal  peace  of  the  nation.  As  the  greater 
number  of  the  heretics  lived  in  London,  they 
came  under  the  jurisdiction  of  Bishop  Bonner, 
whose  Chancellor  Storey  had  become.  It  is  hardly 
necessary  in  these  days  to  undertake  the  defence 
of  this  Bishop  from  the  calumnies  heaped  upon  him 
by  Foxe,  since  this  has  been  already  done  in  so 
admirable  a  manner  by  such  Anglican  writers  as 
Dr.  Maitland  and  Dr.  Gairdner.  When  therefore 
we  find  Foxe  calling  Blessed  John  Storey  "  a  bloody 
tyrant,"  '•'  a  cruel  persecutor  of  Christ  in  His 
members,"  and  "a  bloody  Nimrod,"1  "even  worse 
than  Bonner,"  we  need  not  be  greatly  disturbed, 
it  is  only  what  was  to  be  expected.  As  to  Bishop 
Bonner,  Dr.  Maitland  has  proved  conclusively  that 
he  has  been  most  grossly  calumniated.  And  what 
he  says  about  the  Bishop  we  may  apply  with  equal 
truth  to  his  Chancellor. 

"  We  can  scarcely  read  with  attention  any  one 
of  the  cases  detailed  by  those  who  were  no  friends 
of  Bonner  without  seeing  in  him  a  judge  who  (even 
if  we  grant  that  he  was  dispensing  bad  laws  badly) 
was  obviously  desirous  to  save  the  prisoner's  life." 
Indeed,  Dr.  Maitland  says  that  he  believes  that  one 
of  the  causes  of  the  bitter  hatred  with  which  the 
Puritans  regarded  the  Bishop,  was  his  remarkable 
success  in  inducing  them  to  abjure  their  errors. 
"  Certainly,  while  the  public  sufferings  of  their 
steadfast  brethren  formed  in  every  point  of  view  the 
best  subject  for  invective  against  the  papists  .  .  . 

1  See  Foxe,   Memorials,  viii.   pp.   743 — 745.     "  The  cursed  and 
bloody  end  of  Dr.  Storey." 


BLESSED   JOHN   STOREY  25 

there  was  among  the  leaders  a  great  fear  of 
the  Bishop's  powers  of  persuasion  ;  or  as  Foxe 
oddly  calls  them  'subtle  snares  of  that  bloody 
wolf.'  "  * 

Yet  Foxe,  among  other  lies,  dares  to  write  of  the 
Bishop : 

This  cannibal,  in  three  years  space,  three  hundred  martyrs 

slew, 
They  were  his  food  ;  he  loved  so  blood ;  he  SPARED  NONE  he 

knew. 

"  The  servant  is  not  above  his  master,"  and  a 
subordinate  official  like  Storey  could  not  hope  to 
escape  his  share  of  the  "  rodomontade,  decla 
mation,  and  scurrility  as  odious  for  its  falsehood 
as  for  its  coarseness"-  with  which  his  chief  was 
so  plentifully  bespattered.  If,  then,  we  rind  Foxe 
accusing  Storey  of  an  act  of  gross  brutality, 
of  throwing  a  faggot  in  the  face  of  a  heretic 
at  the  stake  to  make  him  cease  singing  psalms, 
we  cannot  believe  it  on  his  evidence  alone.  It 
is  true  his  accusations  have  been  repeated  by 
Strype  and  other  Protestant  writers,  but  as  Maitland 
reminds  us,  "  the  coloured  and  exaggerated  accounts" 
of  contemporaries  like  Foxe,  "have  been  still 
further  coloured  and  exaggerated — I  will  add,  per 
verted  and  falsified  by  more  modern  copyists.  .  .  . 
These  stories  have  been  handed  down  from  one 

1  S.  R.  Maitland,  The  Reformation.  Essay  xx.  "  Bonner's 
Cruelty,"  p.  424.  The  whole  essay  is  well  worthy  of  study.  The 
reader  may  compare  Dr.  Gairdner's  appreciation,  History  of  the 
English  Church,  &c.,  pp.  341,  342,  353,  &c. 

>J  Ibid.  p.  406. 


BLESSED   JOHN   STOREY 


careless  writer  to  another,  containing  monstrous 
falsehoods,  even  beyond  what  might  be  warranted  by 
the  statements  of  the  most  loose  and  declamatory 
writers  of  the  time."  l 

Now  that  we  have  seen  the  worst  accusations 
of  cruelty  brought  against  our  martyr,  and  shown 
that  they  are  unworthy  of  credit,  there  remains 
nothing  for  which  we  can  legitimately  blame  him 
in  the  part  that  he  took  in  the  unhappy  Marian 
persecution.  As  he  said  while  on  his  defence  in 
Parliament,  he  did  nothing  but  what  was  prescribed 
by  the  law,  whose  minister  he  was,  and  at  his  death 

1  Dr.  Maitland  examines  two  of  Foxe's  accusations  against 
Storey  and  shows  how  baseless  they  are.  Thomas  Greene,  "  who 
was  scourged  and  beaten  by  Dr.  Storey  for  religion,"  proves  to  have 
been  a  London  prentice  who  had  printed  a  seditious  libel  called 
Antichrist,  directed  against  the  Queen  and  the  Council,  and  whose 
"obstinate  perseverance  in  lying"  when  brought  to  account  for  it, 
was  but  paternally  punished  by  a  good  birching.  "  It  seems  to  me," 
writes  Maitland,  "  that  he  got  off  rather  better  than  he  might  have 
expected."  (Reformation,  pp.  20 — 27.)  Another  calumny  was  that 
he  had  caused  some  of  his  own  kinsfolk  to  be  burnt,  "  never  leaving 
them  until  he  had  brought  them  to  ashes.  Such  was  the  rage  of 
that  devout  Catholic  and  white  child  of  the  mother  church,  that 
neither  kindred,  nor  any  other  consideration,  could  prevail  with 
him  although  it  did  (at  his  request)  with  others,  who  in  respect  of 
him  were  but  strangers  to  them.  The  Lord,  if  it  be  his  will,  turn 
his  heart,  or  else  rid  his  poor  church  from  such  a  hydra,  as 
thanked  be  the  Lord,  now  he  hath."  (Foxe,  vii.  343.)  Will  it  be 
believed  that  although  Foxe  found  out  later  on  that  these  people 
were  no  relation  whatever  to  Dr.  Storey,  as  he  admits  in  another 
page  of  a  subsequent  edition,  yet  he  retains  the  original  calumny 
in  this  new  edition  with  the  marginal  note,  "  Storey  persecuteth 
his  kinsfolk  "  ?  At  the  same  time  be  it  noted  that  he  admits  that 
our  martyr  at  the  time  of  the  first  apprehension  of  the  woman  in 
question,  "was  a  very  earnest  suitor  for  her  deliverance"  and  did 
in  fact  obtain  it  for  a  time,  and  that  he  had  also  interceded  for 
others  who  were  comparatively  strangers  to  him. 


BLESSED   JOHN    STOREY  27 

he  earnestly  deprecated  the  charge  of  personal 
cruelty.  We  may  deeply  regret  the  ill-judged  policy 
which  re-enforced  the  heresy  laws,  and  look  with 
as  much  horror  as  any  Protestant  on  the  fires  of 
Smithfield,  but  we  cannot  justly  blame  those  who 
administered  these  law?,  so  long  as  they  carried 
them  out  with  equity  and  justice. 

We  should  not  indeed  represent  the  position  of 
Blessed  John  Storey  aright  with  regard  to  the  laws 
in  question,  if  we  supposed  him  to  have  been 
distinctly  averse  to  them.  Indeed,  if  any  of  our 
readers  choose  to  think  that  he  was  over-zealous 
in  a  matter  in  which  he  should  (to  say  the  least)  have 
moved  with  the  utmost  caution,  that  is  a  point  on 
which  the  evidence  does  not  seem  to  be  sufficient  to 
defend  or  condemn  him.  Only  this  seems  certain 
that  he  was  not  broadly  speaking  behind  his  age. 
In  the  sixteenth  century  no  one  doubted  the  law 
fulness  or  the  duty  of  suppressing  heretical  opinions, 
which  were  a  danger  both  to  Church  and  State. 
On  this  point  it  will  be  sufficient  to  quote  the 
words  of  Blessed  Thomas  More.1 

'  The  fear  of  the  outrages  and  mischiefs  to 
follow  upon  such  mischiefs  and  heresies,  with  the 
proof  that  men  have  had  in  some  countries  thereof, 
have  been  the  cause  that  Princes  and  people  have 
been  constrained  to  punish  heretics  by  terrible 
death,  whereas  else  more  easy  ways  had  been  taken 
with  them.  And  therefore  here  will  I  somewhat 
(said  I  to  your  friend)  answer  the  points  which  ye 

1  Dialogue,  bk.  iv.  cap.  13,  pp.  275,  &c. 


28 


BLESSED   JOHN   STOREY 


moved  at  our  first  meeting,  when  ye  said  that  many 
men  thought  it  an  hard  and  uncharitable  way  taken 
by  the  clergy  to  put  men  convict  of  heresy  sometime 
to  shame,  sometime  to  death,  and  that  Christ  so 
far  abhorred  all  such  violence,  as  He  would  not  that 
any  of  His  flock  should  fight  in  any  wise,  neither  in 
the  defence  of  themselves  nor  any  other  .  .  .  but 
that  we  should  all  live  after  Him  in  sufferance  and 
patience.  .  .  .  But  as  I  said  before,  if  the  heretics 
had  never  begun  with  violence,  though  they  had  used 
all  the  ways  they  could  to  affect  the  people  by 
preaching,  though  they  had  therewith  done  as 
Luther  doth  now,  and  as  Mahomet  did  before, 
bring  up  opinions  pleasant  to  the  people,  giving 
them  liberty  to  lewdness,  yet  if  they  had  set 
violence  aside,  good  Christian  people  had  per- 
adventure  yet  unto  this  day  used  less  violence 
toward  them  than  these  do  now.  And  yet  were 
heresy  well  worthy  to  be  as  sore  punished  as  any 
other  fault,  since  there  is  no  fault  that  more 
offendeth  God.  Howbeit  while  they  forbare  violence 
there  was  little  violence  done  to  them.  .  .  .  And  yet 
as  for  heretics  rising  among  ourselves  and  springing 
of  ourselves,  be  in  no  wise  to  be  suffered,  but  to  be 
oppressed  and  overwhelmed  in  the  beginning.  For 
by  any  covenant  with  them  Christendom  can 
nothing  win.  For  as  many  as  we  suffer  to  fall  to 
them  we  lese  (sic)  from  Christ.  And  by  all  them  we 
cannot  win  to  Christ  one  the  more  though  we  won 
them  all  home  again  for  they  were  our  own  before. 
And  yet,  as  I  said,  for  all  that  in  the  beginning  never 
were  they  by  any  temporal  punishment  of  their 


BLESSED   JOHN   STOREY  2g 

bodies  anything  sharply  handled,  till  they  began  to 
be  violent  themselves.  We  read  that  in  the  time  of 
St.  Austin,  the  great  doctor  of  the  Church,  the 
heretics  of  Afric  called  the  Donatists  fell  to  force 
and  violence,  robbing,  beating,  tormenting,  and 
killing  such  as  they  took  of  the  true  Christian  flock, 
as  the  Lutherans  have  done  in  Almayne.  For 
avoiding  whereof  that  holy  man  St.  Austin,  which 
long  had  with  great  patience  borne  and  suffered 
their  malice,  only  writing  and  preaching  in  the 
reproof  of  their  errors,  and  had  not  only  done  them 
no  temporal  harm  but  also  had  letted  and  resisted 
others  that  would  have  done  it,  did  yet  at  the  last  for 
the  peace  of  good  people,  both  suffer  and  exhort  the 
Count  Boniface  and  others,  to  repress  them  with 
force  and  fear  them  with  bodily  punishment. 
Which  manner  of  doing  holy  St.  Hierome  and 
other  virtuous  fathers  have  in  other  places  allowed. 
And  since  that  time  hath  thereupon  necessity  per 
ceived,  by  great  outrages  committed  against  the 
peace  and  quiet  of  the  people  in  sundry  places  of 
Christendom,  by  heretics  rising  of  a  small  beginning 
to  an  high  and  unruly  multitude,  many  sore  punish 
ments  been  devised  for  them,  and  specially  by  fire, 
not  only  in  Italy  and  Almayne,  but  also  in  Spain, 
and  in  effect  in  every  part  of  Christendom.  Among 
which  in  England  as  a  good  Catholic  realm,  it  hath 
been  long  punished  by  death  in  the  fire.  And 
specially  for  as  much  as  in  the  time  of  that  noble 
Prince  of  most  famous  memory  King  Henry  the 
fifth,  while  the  Lord  Cobham  maintained  certain 
heresies  and  that  by  the  means  thereof  the  number 


3o  BLESSED   JOHN   STOREY 

so  grew  and  increased  that  within  a  while  though 
himself  was  fled  into  Wales,  yet  they  assembled 
themselves  together  in  a  field  near  unto  London, 
in  such  wise  and  such  number  that  the  King  with 
his  nobles  were  fain  to  put  harness  on  their  backs 
for  the  repression  of  them,  whereupon  there  were 
distressed  and  many  put  to  execution,  and  after  that 
the  Lord  Cobham  taken  in  Wales  and  burned  in 
London  ;  the  King,  his  nobles  and  his  people  there 
upon  considering  the  great  peril  and  jeopardy  that 
the  realm  was  like  to  have  fallen  into  by  those 
heresies,  made  at  a  parliament  very  good  and 
substantial  provisions  besides  all  such  as  were  made 
before,  as  well  for  the  withstanding  as  the  repress 
ing  and  grievous  punishment  of  any  such  as  should 
be  founden  faulty  thereof  and  by  the  clergy  left 
unto  the  secular  hands. 

"  For  here  ye  shall  understand  that  it  is  not  the 
clergy  that  laboureth  to  have  them  punished  by 
death.  Well  may  it  be  that  as  we  be  all  men  and 
not  angels,  some  of  them  may  have  sometime 
either  over  fervent  mind  or  undiscreet  zeal,  or  per 
chance  an  angry  and  cruel  heart,  by  which  they  may 
offend  God  in  the  selfsame  deed,  whereof  they 
should  else  greatly  merit.  But  surely  the  order  of 
the  spiritual  law  therein  is  both  good,  reasonable, 
piteous  and  charitable,  and  nothing  desiring  the 
death  of  any  man  therein.  For  at  the  first  fault 
he  is  abjured,  forsweareth  all  heresies,  doth  such 
penance  for  his  fault  as  the  Bishop  assigneth  him. 
And  is  in  such  wise  graciously  received  again  into 
the  favour  and  suffrages  of  Christ's  Church.  But 


BLESSED   JOHN   STOREY  31 

if  he  betaken  eftsoons  with  the  same  crime  again 
then  is  he  put  out  of  the  Christian  flock  by  excom 
munication.  And  because  that  being  such  his 
conversation  were  perilous  among  Christian  men, 
the  Church  refuseth  him,  and  thereof  the  clergy 

OJ 

giveth  knowledge  to  the  temporality,  not  exhorting 
the  prince  or  any  man  else  to  kill  him  or  punish 
him,  but  only  in  the  presence  of  the  temporal 
officer,  the  spirituality  not  delivereth  him,  but 
leaveth  him  to  the  secular  hand  and  forsaketh  him 
as  one  excommunicate  and  removed  out  of  the 
Christian  flock.  And  although  the  Church  be  not 
light  and  sudden  in  receiving  him  again,  yet  at  the 
time  of  his  death,  upon  his  request  with  tokens  of 
repentance  he  is  absolved  and  received  again." 

That  the  opinions  of  Sir  Thomas  More  were 
fully  shared  by  Dr.  Storey  is  clear.  In  a  letter  of 
his  to  Edward  Courtenay,  Earl  of  Devon,  written 
in  1555,  we  find  the  following  passage  : 

"  Albeit,  I  be  ...  as  it  were  relegate  from  the 
court  and  tied  in  the  city  for  the  better  purging  of 
the  same  from  schism,  sedition,  and  heresy,  .  .  . 
yet  have  I  thought  it  my  bounden  duty  to  let  your 
honour  to  understand  that  the  state  of  the  city,  being 
(as  you  know)  the  spectacle  of  this  realm,  daily 
drawing,  partly  for  love  and  partly  for  fear,  to  confor 
mity,  doth  not  a  little  amend.  Whereof  God  grant 
increase  and  restitution  to  the  old  state  and  dignity,, 
to  God's  honour  and  glory.  And  where  of  late 
through  too  much  pity  mixed  with  sinful  civility, 


32  BLESSED   JOHN   STOREY 

the  inferior  sort — yea,  in  times  of  executions — began 
to  be  stout,  and  seemed  to  glory  in  their  malignity; 
now  the  sharpness  of  the  sword  and  other  correc 
tions,  hath  begun  to  bring  forth  that  the  Word  in 
stony  hearts  could  not  do.  So  that  by  discreet 
severity  we  have  good  hope  of  universal  unity  in 
religion,  and  thereby  perfect  unanimity  among  the 
superior  sort,  unless  some  lurking  darns1  (which  as 
yet  in  every  assembly  lacketh  not)  interturbet  omnia. 
The  full  cause  of  all  good  men  is,  that  by  God's 
gracious  assistance  and  the  good  counsel  of  your 
Lordship  and  others,  the  late  instruments  of  God's 
fury,  being  now  worldlings  respecting  only  the 
weathercock,  shall  shortly  so  be  weeded,  that  they 
choke  not  the  corn.  Which  God  grant,  and  to  your 
Lordship  your  heart's  desire.  With  my  most  hearty 
commendation  to  my  fond  patron  and  second 
Father,  good  Mr.  Bonvise,  fautor  of  all  good 
Catholic  men,  whom  I  trust  your  Lordship  hath 
or  will  visit.  Whereof  I  know  he  will  be  very 
glad. 

"  Your  L[ordship's]  orator, 

"  (Signed)  J°[HN]  ST[OREY]. 

"  London,  June  17,  1555." 

This  was  in  fact  the  universally  accepted 
teaching  of  the  time,  and  even  Protestants,  however 
they  might  reject  the  authority  of  the  Church  and 
claim  for  themselves  liberty  of  conscience,  were  the 
last  to  give  it  to  others. 

1  Darnels,  weeds  or  tares  ? 
2   Venetian  Calendar,  vi.  n.  137. 


BLESSED  JOHN  STOREY  33 


"  We  must  remember,  too,"  writes  Mr.  Simpson,1 
"  that  there  was  a  great  difference  between  upholding 
the  ancient  religion  by  the  then  established  laws 
of  Europe,  and  establishing  a  new  religion,  profes 
sing  to  be  built  on  individual  freedom  of  conscience, 
by  the  most  ruthless  persecution  of  all  consciences 
that  adhered  to  the  old  system."  It  is  also  well 
to  bear  in  mind  that  what  More  says  about  the 
violence  and  disloyalty  of  heretics  was  more  than 
ever  exemplified  in  the  reign  of  Queen  Mary.  As 
Mr.  Gairdner  has  admirably  put  it : 

"  The  experience  of  twenty  years  had  convinced 
Mary,  and  no  doubt  her  subjects  generally,  that 
defiance  of  Papal  authority  had  shaken  the  founda 
tion  of  all  other  authority  whatsoever.  Rebellion 
and  treason  had  been  nourished  by  heresy — nay, 
heresy  was  the  very  root  from  which  they  sprang. 
And  it  was  really  more  important  in  the  eyes  of 
Mary  to  extirpate  the  root  than  merely  to  lop  off 
the  branches.  She  had  all  possible  desire  to  show 
indulgence  to  the  misguided,  if  they  could  be  brought 
to  a  better  state  of  mind  ;  and  the  bishops  might  be 
trusted,  especially  Bishop  Bonner,  to  do  their  very 
utmost  to  dissuade  the  obstinate  from  rushing  on 
their  fate.  But  there  was  to  be  no  more  toleration 
for  incurable  perversity."1  Again,  ''There  were 
heretics  whose  acts — if  the  opinions  which  prompted 
the  acts  had  not  been  regarded  as  the  greater  evil— 

1  Rambler,   New  Series,   vol.  vii.   (1857),  p.  183.       We  take  the 
opportunity  of  expressing  our  indebtedness  to  this  admirable  article, 
from  which  we  have  not  scrupled  to  quote  freely. 

2  Gairdner,  English  Church  in  the  Sixteenth  Century,  p.  353. 

D  II. 


34  BLESSED   JOHN  STOREY 


would  have  deserved  very  severe  punishment  indeed, 
even  in  days  like  our  own."1 

Blessed  John   Storey  then  must  have  felt  that 
the  part  he  had  to  take  in  the  trial  and  condemna 
tion  of  heretics  was  a  duty,  though  a  distasteful  one. 
At  the  same  time  he  undoubtedly  felt  much  com 
passion  for  the  poor  ignorant  people  who  were  often 
brought  before  him,  and  who  he  saw  were  obstin 
ately  clinging  to   errors  which  they  did   not  really 
understand.     He  more  than  once,  as  we  have  seen 
even  Foxe  admit,  exerted  himself  to  obtain  pardon 
and   liberty  for  these  misguided   people.     On   one 
occasion  he  and  his  intimate  friend,  the  devout  and 
gentle  Abbot  Feckenham,  went  to  the   Queen  and 
begged  off  the  lives  of  twenty-eight  poor  wretches 
condemned  to  the  flames.     He  felt  strongly  that  it 
was  a  great  mistake  to  punish  these  poor  people  and 
let  the  ringleaders  go  scot  free.     And  in  open  con 
sistory  he  once  strongly  advocated  the  punishment 
of  seven  or  eight  of  the  principal  of  the  Zwinglian 
faction,  instead   of  the   dozens  of  lesser  note  who 
suffered  death.     This  it  was  no  doubt  that  rendered 
him   a  peculiar  subject  of  hatred  and  revenge  to 
Elizabeth,    Cecil,    the    Earl    of    Bedford,    and   the 

rest.2 

In   1555  Storey  was  appointed  Queen's  proct< 
for   the   trial    of    Archbishop    Cranmer.3      It    was 
observed   that  Cranmer   on    being    brought   before 


mps,.  p.  184.     See  Persons'  Temperate   Ward-word  to 
the  turbulent  and  seditious  Watch-word  of  Sir  Francis   Hastinge,  & 
)  P   32,  quoted  below. 
Strype's  Cranmer,  pp.  543-545,  et  seq.    See  also  Foxe,  vm.  53- 


BLESSED   JOHN   STOREY  35 

the  court  made  low  obeisance  to  Dr.  Storey 
and  Dr.  Martin  as  the  royal  commissioners,  but 
refused  to  bow  to  the  Bishop  of  Gloucester,  who 
presided  as  the  Pope's-  delegate.  Foxe  quotes 
Storey's  speech  on  this  occasion;  from  which  we 
give  an  extract : 

"Ye  say  that  the  King  in  his  realm  is  supreme 
head  of  the  Church.  Well,  sir,  you  will  grant  me 
that  there  was  a  perfect  Catholic  Church  before  any 
King  was  christened.  Then  if  it  were  a  perfect 
Church,  it  must  needs  have  a  head,  which  must 
needs  be  before  any  King  was  member  thereof:  for 
you  know  Constantine  was  the  first  christened  King 
that  ever  was.  And  although  you  are  bound  (as 
St.  Paul  saith)  to  obey  your  rulers,  and  Kings  have 
rule  of  the  people,  yet  doth  it  not  follow  that  they 
have  cure  of  souls ;  for  a  fortiori  the  head  may  do 
that  the  minister  cannot  do,  but  the  priest  may 
consecrate,  and  the  King  cannot,  therefore  the  King 
is  not  head." 

Cranmer  was  in  a  dilemma ;  he  had  justified  all 
his  crimes  against  the  Church  by  pleading  the  royal 
authority,  now  here  was  the  royal  authority  en 
deavouring  to  restore  Papal  Supremacy  once  more 
—here  was  the  delegate  of  the  "  Supreme  Head  " 
proclaiming  that  "to  rule  the  Church  was  only 
given  to  Peter."  He  refused  to  plead.  "The  canons 
which  be  received  in  Christendom,"  proceeded 
Storey,  "  compel  you  to  answer,  therefore  you  are 
bound  to  do  so.  And  although  this  realm  of  late, 
through  such  schismatics  as  you  were,  hath  exiled 
and  banished  the  canons,  yet  that  cannot  make  for 


36  BLESSED   JOHN   STOREY 

you  ;  for  you  know  yourself  that  nee  pars  in 
partem,  nee  pars  in  totum  aliquid  statuere  potest. 
Wherefore  this  isle,  being  indeed  but  a  member 
of  the  whole,  could  not  determine  against  the 
whole." 

In  February,  1556-7,  Storey  was  put  on  a 
commission  together  with  the  Bishops  of  London 
and  Ely,  Lord  Windsor,  Lord  North,  Sir  Francis 
Englefield,  Cole,  Dean  of  St.  Paul's,  Sir  Thomas 
Pope,  Dr.  Martin,  and  several  others  for  them  to 
discover  more  stringent  means  of  suppressing 
•"  heretical  and  seditious  books,  concealments,  con 
tempts,  conspiracies,  of  all  false  rumours,  tales, 
seditions  and  clamorous  words  and  sayings,"  as 
well  as  of  punishing  all  enormities  and  disturbances 
committed  in  sacred  places,  those  who  refused  to 
hear  Mass,  &c.,  and  all  vagabonds  and  suspect 
persons  abiding  in  or  near  London,  &c.  This  seems 
to  be  Foxe's  sole  ground  for  asserting  that  Storey, 
"thinking  their  punishment  in  the  fire  not  cruel 
enough,  went  about  to  invent  new  torments  for  the 
holy  martyrs  of  Christ,  such  was  his  hatred  to  the 
truth  of  Christ's  Gospel." 

Just  at  this  time  he  wrote  another  letter  to  the 
Earl  of  Devon,  who  was  in  Italy,  which  is  preserved 
in  the  Record  Office,  and  is  interesting  "  as  showing 
the  good  prospects  opened  to  this  country,  had 
not  Almighty  God  in  His  inscrutable  providence 
shortened  Queen  Mary's  days."1 

1  Simpson,  ibid.   p.  185.     This  and  several  of  the  documents 
quoted  below  are  printed  in  the  Rambler  article. 


BLESSED   JOHN   STOREY  37 

"  EMMANUEL. 

"Although,  my  singular  good  lord,  it  be  long 
sithence  I  have  visited  your  honour  with  this  my 
scraping  hand,  yet  hath  not  my  heart  forgotten  my 
bounden  duty  to  pray  for  the  preservation  and 
prosperous  estate  of  your  good  lordship,  whom  God 
hitherto  hath  proved  with  manifold  travails,  to  the 
end  that  hereafter  His  mercy  may  use  you  to  His 
glory  and  no  small  comfort  of  all  Christian  religion 
in  this  our  native  country ;  wherein  although  many 
things  concerning  spiritual  and  civil  government  be 
yet  to  be  desired,  yet  is  the  same  through  the 
virtuous  contemplation  of  the  (Queen's  majesty  and 
of  my  lord  Cardinal  his  grace  so  much  repaired,  and 
by  the  prudent  activity  of  my  now  Lord  Chancellor1 
in  the  execution  of  justice  so  reduced  into  order,  that 
if  your  lordship  were  present  to  behold  how  right 
ruling  doth  daily  succeed  in  place  of  ruffling  raging, 
your  honour  would  conceive  no  less  good  hope  of 
the  extirpation  of  vice,  and  planting  again  of  virtue, 
than  we  do  here  of  your  lordship  to  be  no  small 
instrument  to  that  purpose,  when  it  shall  please  God 
to  send  you  to  us  again ;  whereof  I  have  thought  it 
my  duty  to  certify  your  honour,  although  it  be 
notorious,  knowing  that  your  honour  having  ever 
desired  the  same,  will  now  the  more  rejoice  you 
do  hear  thereof.  How  other  things  doth  stand, 
this  bearer  your  diligent  servant  will  declare  unto 
your  honour,  which  God  will  increase  to  His  glory. 
From  London,  this  23rd  February  [1556]. 

"  Your  lordship's  most  bounden  servant, 

"JOHN    STOREY."2 
1  Heath,  Archbishop  of  York.          2  K.O.  Domestic,  Mary,  vii.  9. 


38  BLESSED   JOHN   STOREY 

There  is  little  more  to  tell  of  our  martyr  during 
Queen  Mary's  reign.  We  may  add  however  that  on 
the  3ist  of  January,  1553-4,  William  Frankelyn, 
parson  of  Chalfont  St.  Giles  in  Buckinghamshire, 
gave  a  lease  of  all  his  parsonage  to  John  Storey, 
LL.D.,  and  Joan  his  wife  and  Ellen  Storey  their 
daughter,  for  thirty-one  years,  at  a  yearly  payment 
of  £26  135  4d.x  He  therefore  probably  lived  in  this 
quaint  old  village  during  the  vacations,  and  Chalfont 
St.  Giles,  which  boasts  of  being  the  home  of  Milton, 
may  reckon  this  illustrious  martyr  among  its  glories. 
But  he  was  not  to  enjoy  for  long  this  quiet  country 
home.  The  death  of  Queen  Mary  and  of  Cardinal 
Pole  upon  the  same  sad  day  (November  17,  1558) 
put  an  end  to  the  hopes  of  Catholics,  and  the  worst 
apprehensions  of  our  martyr  were  speedily  realized. 

Elizabeth  proceeded  warily,  but  her  immediate 
choice  of  Protestant  councillors  was  an  omen  of 
the  coming  change.  The  Device  for  the  alteration  of 
Religion,2  which  was  drawn  up  by  these  councillors, 
sketches  out  with  consummate  skill  the  end  to  be 
attained  and  the  means  of  attaining  it.  The  altera 
tion  was  to  be  first  attempted  "at  the  next  Parlia 
ment,"  and  Cecil  took  care  that  the  Lower  House 
should  be  packed  with  heretics.  The  Device  had 
laid  down  that  none  were  to  be  admitted,  even  to 
lower  offices  of  trust  under  Government,  except 
those  who  were  "young  in  years,"  "were  known  to 
be  sure  at  the  Queen's  devotion."  And  this  was  the 
class  of  men  who  filled  the  benches  of  the  first 

1  Wood,  A  then.  Oxon.  Edit.  Bliss,  i.  389. 
2  Burnet,  v.  p.  327. 


BLESSED   JOHN  STOREY  39 

Parliament  of  Queen  Elizabeth.  It  was  in  fact  known 
as  the  "  Beardless  Parliament,"  so  largely  did  it 
consist  of  licentious  young  men.  The  Duke  of 
Feria,  the  Spanish  Ambassador,  reported  that  it 
consisted  "  of  persons  chosen  throughout  the  country 
as  being  most  perverse  and  heretical,"  and  an 
English  Catholic  told  the  Pope  that  in  a  House  of 
about  two  hundred  members  only  ten  were  found 
true  to  the  old  creed.1 

But  among  these  few  was  Blessed  John  Storey. 
He  was  returned  for  Downton,  in  Wiltshire,  on  the 
i;th  of  January,  1558-g.2  It  must  have  been  with 
a  heavy  heart  that  he  assisted  at  the  opening 
ceremony  in  Westminster  Abbey,  on  January  the 
25th.  The  Mass  of  the  Holy  Ghost  was  not  sung 
as  usual,  and  when  Abbot  Feckenham  in  his  ponti 
fical  robes,  with  his  monks  in  procession  bearing 
lighted  candles,  received  the  Queen  at  the  west 
door,  she  behaved  with  extraordinary  rudeness, 
crying,  "Away  with  these  lights  ;  we  see  very  well !  " 
The  Litany  was  sung  in  English,  and  Dr.  Cox,  a 
married  priest  and  a  most  bitter  heretic,3  preached 
the  sermon.  In  this  discourse,  "after  saying  many 
things  freely  against  the  monks,  proving  by  his 
arguments  that  they  ought  to  be  persecuted  and 
punished  by  her  Majesty,  ...  he  then  commenced 
praising  her,  .  .  .  exhorting  her  to  destroy  the 

1  See  article  by  Father  John  Pollen,  S.J.,  Dublin  Review,  January, 

J903.  PP  44— 63- 

'2  He  had  sat  successively  for  East  Grinstead  (September  25, 
1553),  Bramber  (March,  1553-4),  and  Ludgershall  (October  6,  1555). 

3  Cox  was  one  of  the  framers  of  the  Anglican  Prayer  Book. 
He  became  Bishop  of  Ely. 


40  BLESSED   JOHN   STOREY 

images  of  the  saints,  the  churches  and  monasteries, 
and  all  other  things  dedicated  to  divine  worship  ; 
proving  by  his  own  arguments  that  it  is  very  great 
impiety  and  idolatry  to  endure  them  ;  and  saying 
many  other  things  against  the  Christian  religion."1 

With  these  auspices  did  Elizabeth's  first  Parlia 
ment  open.  Meanwhile  things  were  going  from 
bad  to  worse  outside.  Insults  and  outrages 
against  Catholic  priests  and  Catholic  rites  passed 
unpunished,  three  of  the  Bishops  were  imprisoned, 
while  the  heretics  were  set  free,  and  the  Court 
amused  itself  with  buffoonery,  plays  and  lampoons 
of  so  abominable  and  horrible  a  description  that 
Catholics  wondered  that  their  authors  did  not  perish 
by  the  act  of  God.  On  the  feast  of  the  Epiphany 
Elizabeth  had  amused  herself  with  a  mummery  after 
supper,  in  which  crows  appeared  clad  in  Cardinals' 
robes,  asses  habited  as  Bishops,  and  wolves  repre 
senting  Abbots.  Worse  than  this,  the  churches 
were  broken  into  and  robbed,  the  Blessed  Sacra 
ment  trodden  underfoot,  and  the  licentious  outrages 
of  the  mob,  excited  as  they  were  by  the  fanatical 
preachers  who  hastened  over  from  the  Continent, 
daily  grew  more  violent. 

Even  the  mild  and  gentle  Abbot  Feckenham 
could  not  contain  his  indignation  at  these  outrages, 
He  spoke  out  in  the  House  of  Lords: 

1  II  Schifanoya  to  the  Mantuan  Ambassador.  (Venetian  Calendar, 
vol.  vii.  pp.  22,  23.)  Schifanoya  was  an  admirable  reporter  and  most 
trustworthy  witness.  His  accounts  of  the  Coronation  and  the 
opening  of  Parliament,  &c.,  are  most  minute  and  graphic.  He  says 
that  Cox's  sermon  lasted  an  hour  and  a  half. 


BLESSED   JOHN  STOREY  41 

'  My  good  Lords,  when  in  Queen  Mary's  days, 
your  honours  do  know  right  well  how  the  people 
of  this  realm  did  live  in  an  order,  and  would  not 
run  before  laws,  .  .  .  there  was  no  spoiling  of 
churches,  pulling  down  of  altars,  and  most  blas 
phemous  treading  down  of  the  Sacrament  under 
their  feet,  and  hanging  up  the  knave  of  clubs  in  the 
place  thereof.  There  was  no  skurching  nor  cutting 
of  the  face  and  legs  of  the  crucifix  and  image  of 
Christ.  There  was  no  open  flesh-eating  nor  shambles 
keeping  in  the  Lent  and  days  prohibited.  The 
subjects  of  this  realm,  and  especially  the  nobility 
and  such  as  were  of  the  honourable  Council,  did  in 
Queen  Mary's  days  know  the  way  unto  churches 
and  chapels,  there  to  begin  their  daily  work  with 
calling  for  help  and  grace  by  humble  prayer  and 
serving  of  God.  But  now  since  the  coming  and 
reign  of  our  most  sovereign  and  dear  lady  Queen 
Elizabeth,  by  the  only  preachers  and  scaffold-players 
of  this  new  religion,  all  things  are  changed  and 
turned  upside  down,  .  .  .  obedience  is  gone,  humility 
and  meekness  clean  abolished,  virtuous,  chaste,  and 
straight  living  abandoned,  and  all  degrees  and  kinds 
desirous  of  fleshly  and  carnal  liberty."1 

Parliament  soon  settled  down  to  its  business, 
the  first  point  of  which  had  been  declared  to  be 
Pro  Reformanda  Religione  et  tollcnda  idolatvia. 

The  Supremacy  Bill  was  introduced  into  the 
House  of  Commons  at  the  beginning  of  February, 

1  MS.    Cott.    Vesp.   D.   xviii.  fol.  86.      See,  too,  Lord    Somers' 
Tracts,  vol.  i.  p.  81. 


42  BLESSED  JOHN   STOREY 

read  the  first  time  and  referred  to  Committee. 
During  the  second  reading  it  was,  says  D'Ewes, 
"  long  argued,  as  appears  plainly  from  the  original 
journal  books  of  the  House  of  Commons."1  We 
have  few  details,  however,  as  to  the  opposition. 
The  most  prominent  part  in  it  however,  was  taken 
by  Blessed  John  Storey.  He  spoke  often  and 
strenuously  on  the  proposed  changes,  by  which 
England  was  once  more  to  be  torn  away  from 
the  unity  of  the  Church.  He  was  taunted  by  his 
opponents  with  his  severity  against  the  heretics, 
and  he  replied  (at  least,  so  it  was  reported  ten 
years  later)  that  he  had  nothing  to  regret  save  that 
more  had  not  been  done.  "  I  see,"  he  declared 
boldly,  "  nothing  to  be  sorry  for ;  but  am  rather 
sorry  that  I  have  done  no  more,  and  that  I  had  not 
more  earnestly  given  my  advice  to  spare  the  little 
twigs  and  shoots,  but  to  strike  more  boldly  at  the 
roots  and  great  branches.  If  this  had  been  done 
we  should  not  see  so  many  seeds  of  wickedness 
taking  root  everywhere  and  flourishing  so  abun 
dantly."2 

1  Journals  of  all  the  Parliaments,  Reign  Elizabeth  (1682),  p.  44. 

'2  There  is  no  contemporary  report  of  this  speech.  It  may  be 
found  in  Holinshed,  Edition  1587,  vol.  ii.  p.  1180.  Cf.  Declaration 
of  the  Life  and  Death  of  John  Storey,  .  .  .  by  Thomas  Caldwell,  1571, 
printed  in  the  Harleian  Miscellany ,  iii.  p.  190  ;  in  Lord  Somers'  Tracts, 
i.  p.  480,  and  in  the  State  Trials,  i.  p.  1087.  Here  the  version  is: 
"  I  did  often-times  in  Queen  Mary's  time  say  to  the  Bishops  that 
they  were  too  busy  with  Pecora  Campi,  chopping  at  twigs,  but  I 
wished  to  have  chopped  at  the  root,  which  if  they  had  done,  this 
gere  had  not  now  come  in  question." 

Father  Persons,  S.J.,  in  A  temperate  Ward-word,  &c.,  questions 
the  accuracy  of  the  report.  He  says  (p.  32)  :  "  For  the  words 
themselves  they  had  never  yet  any  other  proof  that  they  were 


BLESSED   JOHN  STOREY  43 

This  was  indeed  a  courageous  speech  to  make 
at  such  time  ;  and  no  wonder  that  his  adversaries, 
on  hearing  it,  "gnashed  at  him  with  their  teeth." 
He  was,  of  course,  accused  of  referring  to  the  Queen 
herself,  though  there  is  a  good  deal  in  what  Father 
Persons  says  to  show  that  in  this  interpretation  of 
his  words  there  was  "  more  passion  than  truth,  and 
more  rigour  than  reason."  For,  as  he  goes  on  to 
argue  : 

'  Why  is  it  necessary  we  should  admit  the 
bloody  commentary  and  heavy  exposition  only  of 

spoken,  to  my  knowledge,  but  only  that  his  enemies  affirmed 
them  (to  make  him  thereby  more  odious)  when  they  had  him  in  their 
power  and  desired  his  destruction.  For  I  never  heard  that  himself 
confessed  them  either  in  liberty,  captivity,  at  the  bar,  or  at  his  death, 
and  that  he  should  not  speak  them  (though  he  had  thought  them) 
when  Queen  Elizabeth  was  now  settled  in  her  crown,  as  this 

K affirmeth  (he  being  known  to  be  wise  and  no  fool),  all  reason 

may  induce  us  to  think  and  believe,  seeing  they  could  not  serve  to 
any  purpose  but  to  his  own  ruin."  However,  as  he  goes  on  to  argue 
as  to  what  Storey  meant  by  the  words,  if  he  did  say  them,  it  is 
clear  he  is  not  very  sure  of  his  ground  in  denying  their  authenticity. 

I  think  that  Storey  certainly  must  have  said  something  of  the 
kind,  because  this  alone  can  explain  the  outcry  raised  against  him 
and  because,  as  Persons  admits,  these  were  certainly  his  sentiments. 
But  what,  to  my  mind,  puts  the  matter  beyond  dispute  is  that 
Sander,  who  knew  Storey  intimately  at  Louvain,  puts  this  speech 
into  his  mouth  without  hesitation  or  qualification: 

"  De  crudelitate  vero  sua  id  in  publicis  comitiis  Joannes  ipse  regnante 
jam  Elizabetha,  respondit,  se  nulla  in  re  alia  peccasse,  nisi  quod  omissa 
radice,  nescio  quos  ramusculos  prcecidisset,  cum  potius  debuisset  robus- 
tissima  quaque  zizania  radicitus  evellisse  :  quod  factum  si  fuisset,  jam 
(inquit)  non  tot  ac  tanta  videremus  impictatis  gcrmina  ubique  stare,  atque 
adeoflonre."  (De  Visibili  Monarchia,  Edit.  1571,  lib.  vii.) 

Foxe  has  embroidered  the  speech  in  his  usual  way,  making 
Storey  glory  in  the  barbarities  which  Foxe,  as  we  have  seen,  imputes 
to  him  out  of  his  own  evil  imagination.  This  is  indeed  incredible. 
Holinshed  and  Strype  merely  reproduce  Foxe. 


44  BLESSED   JOHN   STOREY 

his  enemies,  .  .  .  who  will  needs  have  him  mean 
by  those  words  the  bereaving  of  our  dear  Sovereign's 
life  ?  Was  lad)7  Elizabeth  (I  pray  you)  taken  to  be 
this  root  of  heresy  in  Queen  Mary's  time,  being 
holden  by  most  Catholics  to  be  no  Protestant  at  all, 
as  before  I  have  shewed  ?  Why  might  not  Dr.  Storie 
meane  rather  (if  he  had  spoken  those  words)  of 
some  Bacon,  some  Cecil,  some  Cook,  some  Knowles, 
some  Throgmorton,  some  Russell,  and  many  other 
like,  that  were  known  Protestants  in  Queen  Mary's 
time,  supporters  of  others,  and  practitioners  against 
the  present  state,  and  yet  suffered,  yea  borne  out 
by  known  Catholics ;  while  other  poor  cobblers, 
clothiers,  carriers,  and  such  like,  were  punished  ? 
At  which  manner  of  dealing  I  do  confess  that 
Dr.  Storie  being  a  man  of  zeal  in  his  religion, 
misliked  exceedingly,  and  stormed  also  publicly  one 
day,  before  the  Bishops  and  Privy  Council  in  a 
public  consistory  (for  that  Councillors  also,  for 
honour's  sake,  and  to  protect  their  friends  and 
kindred,  would  needs  be  inquisitors  in  that  Govern 
ment),  complaining  grievously  of  this  abuse,  .  .  . 
whereby  also  it  is  much  more  probable  that  his 
complaint  of  the  root  of  heresy  remaining  and  not 
touched,  was  meant  rather  of  the  infected  nobility 
and  gentry  within  the  land  .  .  .  than  of  lady 
Elizabeth  at  that  day,  for  that  indeed  she  was  not 
the  root  then,  nor  did  the  change  of  religion  spring 
of  her  principally  afterwards,  but  of  those  other 
inferior  roots  which  I  have  mentioned."1 

Whatever    the     martyr     may     have     said,    his 
1  A  temperate  Ward-word,  &c.,pp.  32,  33. 


BLESSED  JOHN   STOREY  45 

enemies  were  determined  to  make  use  of  his  speech 
to  bring  him  to  destruction. 

In  defiance  of  the  privileges  of  Parliament,  he 
was  brought  up  before  the  Council  to  answer  to 
the  charge  of  having  spoken  evil  of  the  affairs  of 
religion.  Another  Doctor  of  Laws,  a  priest,  was 
summoned  at  the  same  time.  "  They  bravely  and 
prudently  answered  the  Lords  of  the  Council,  and 
especially  the  layman,  Master  Storey,  who  said  : 
'  You  need  not  interrogate  me  about  these  matters, 
as  I  know  better  than  any  of  you  both  the  canon 
laws  and  those  of  this  kingdom  ;  let  my  accusers 
appear  and  prove  what  I  have  said,  for  I  certainly 
said  nothing  at  which  you  could  reasonably  take 
offence;  but  should  her  Majesty  will  otherwise,  I  do 
not  refuse  to  die  for  the  Church.'  The  other  said 
the  like,  telling  the  Lords  of  the  Council  besides 
that  her  Majesty  could  not  do  them  a  greater  favour. 
So  from  what  I  hear,  all  the  clergy  are  united  and 
confirmed  in  this  holy  and  good  opinion.  Some  of 
them  will  perhaps  change  their  minds,  but  they  will 
be  esteemed  for  what  they  are."  l 

For  the  moment,  Blessed  John  Storey  was 
dismissed  with  a  caution,  but  from  this  time,  says 
Sander,  his  enemies  never  ceased  collecting  new 
matter  of  accusation  against  him.  It  was  not  long 
before  he  got  into  trouble  again.  A  Bill  had  been 
introduced  to  deprive  the  venerable  Bishop  Whyte 
of  large  portions  of  the  lands  belonging  to  his  see 
of  Winchester.  It  had  passed  the  Commons,  but 
nevertheless.  Dr.  Storey  had  the  boldness  to  appear 

1  II  Schifanoya,  Venetian  Calendar,  vii.  p.  26. 


46  BLESSED  JOHN  STOREY 

before  the  Lords  as  the  Bishop's  counsel.1  This 
was  reported  to  the  House,  on  March  the  23rd,  and 
Storey,  on  acknowledging  the  offence,  received  a 
severe  reprimand  from  the  Speaker.  The  Bishop's 
crime  had  been  the  same  as  his  own,  and  he  had 
already  been  imprisoned  in  his  own  house  for  daring 
to  teach  Catholic  truth  in  his  sermons. 

Blessed  John  Storey  was  soon  to  taste  the 
vengeance  of  his  enemies.  Their  fury  was  so  great 
that  he  thought  it  best  to  hide  himself  for  a  time, 
but  he  was  soon  "  taken  in  the  West  country, 
riding  before  a  mail  in  a  frieze  coat  like  a  serving- 
man,  and  was  apprehended  in  the  highway  by  one 
Mr.  Ayleworth,  one  of  the  Queen's  servants,"2  and 
being  brought  before  the  Council,  was  by  them 
committed  to  the  Fleet,  on  the  2Oth  of  May,  1560. 
At  the  same  time,  Watson,  Bishop  of  Lincoln  ; 
Feckenham,  Abbot  of  Westminster  ;  Cole,  Dean  of 
St.  Paul's  ;  and  Chedsey,  Archdeacon  of  Middlesex, 
were  sent  to  the  Tower.3  The  offence  with  which 
they  were  charged  was,  "  having  obstinately  refused 
attendance  on  public  worship,  and  everywhere 
declaiming  and  railing  against  that  religion  which 
we  now  profess."4  In  the  words  of  Foxe, 

1  These  lands  had  been  granted  to  seculars  by  letters  patent 
under  Edward  VI.,  but  taken  from  them  and  restored  to  the  see 
by  Mary.     They  now  claimed  them  back,  and  the  Bishop  properly 
resisted  the  confiscation.    The  patentees  further  ventured  to  accuse 
the  Bishop  of  cancelling  records,  and  some  articles  were  devised 
for  his  punishment.  (Dixon,  v.  p.  96.) 

2  The  Declaration,  v.  supra. 

3  Machyn,  p.  235. 

4  Jewel  to   Peter   Martyr  (May  22,  1560),  Zurich  Letters,  First 
Series,  p.  79. 


BLESSED   JOHN  STOREY  47 

"  Elizabeth,  staying  the  bloody  sword  of  persecu 
tion  from  raging  any  further  (!),  caused  Dr.  Storey  to 
be  apprehended  and  committed  to  ward,  with  many 
other,  his  accomplices,  sworn  enemies  to  Christ's 
glorious  Gospel." 

In  the  Fleet  prison  Blessed  John  Storey  found 
other  glorious  confessors  in  chains.  Dr.  Cuthbert 
Scott,  Bishop  of  Chester,  had  been  committed 
prisoner  there  a  week  before  (May  the  isth),  and 
Dr.  Nicholas  Harpsfield  and  other  dignified  eccle 
siastics  shared  with  him  the  miserable  accommoda 
tion  of  the  prison.  In  those  days  prisoners  who 
desired  the  common  decencies  of  life  had  to  pay 
heavily  for  them,  and  we  find,  from  some  constitu 
tions  drawn  up  for  the  government  of  the  Fleet  in 
this  very  year,  that  the  prisoners  who  had  a  bed 
to  themselves,  had  to  pay  for  board  and  lodging 
more  than  £i  a  week,  a  sum  we  should  have  to 
multiply  many  times  to  reach  its  modern  value. 

We  do  not  know  how  long  Dr.  Storey  was  con 
fined  in  the  Fleet  at  this  time.  Sander  says  he 
spent  "  some  years  "  in  prison.  All  we  know  is  that 
by  some  means  or  other  he  escaped  for  a  time,  for 
we  find  that  he  was  re-taken  in  April  or  May,  1562. 
This  we  learn  from  a  letter  of  Parkhurst,  Bishop 
of  Norwich,  to  Bullinger  (May  31,  1562)  :  "Storey, 
that  little  man  of  law  and  most  impudent  Papist, 
has  been  arrested  in  the  West  of  England  in  a 
courtier's  dress."1  He  was  thrown  into  the 
Marshalsea  prison,  where  among  his  fellow-prisoners 

1  Zurich  Letters,  n.   48.     The  words  are  "more  aulico,"  which 
have  been  translated  "  in  his  barrister's  robes  "  ! 


48  BLESSED   JOHN   STOREY 

was  his  old  master,  the  Bishop  of  London.  His 
enemies  meanwhile  sought  for  a  legal  pretext  to  put 
him  to  death.  Nor  had  they  long  to  wait.  Early 
in  the  next  year  Parliament  passed  a  new  Act 
authorizing  the  Protestant  Bishops  to  require  the 
Oath  of  Supremacy  from  any  one  who  had  held  office 
in  the  last  three  reigns,  and  made  the  penalty  of 
the  first  refusal  perpetual  imprisonment,  and  of  the 
second,  death. 

On  the  2gth  of  April,  1563,  Bishop  de  la 
Quadra,  Spanish  Ambassador,  wrote  to  King  Philip 
as  follows  i1 

"  This  week  they  begin  to  demand  the  oath  from 
the  Catholic  Bishops,  in  accordance  with  the  new 
Act  passed  in  Parliament  recently,  and  the  Bishops 
of  London  and  Lincoln,  and  Doctors  Cole  and 
Storey  have  been  summoned  for  Monday  next. 
After  them  will  come  the  rest,  and  there  is  no  doubt 
some  will  die.  I  am  much  more  afflicted  at  this 
misfortune  than  at  all  the  insults  and  injuries  I  have 
received  here,  as  I  see  the  great  danger  the  Catholic 
religion  will  suffer  from  the  death  of  these  men, 
and  still  more,  if  from  faint-heartedness  any  of 
them  were  to  take  the  oath." 

On  May  the  gth  the  Ambassador  had  still  more 
stirring  news  to  report. 

"Last  week  a  commission  was  issued  to  summon 
for  trial  four  of  the  Catholic  prisoners,  two  Bishops 
of  London  and  Lincoln — and  two  doctors — Cole, 

1  Spanish  Calendar,  vol.  i.  p.  322. 


BLESSED   JOHN   STOREY  49 

who  was  commissioner  against  the  Lutherans  in 
the  time  of  our  lady,  Queen  Mary,  now  in  heaven, 
and  Storey.  The  commission  has  not  yet  been 
signed  by  the  Queen,  as  when  they  took  it  to  her, 
she  said  she  would  sign  it  another  day  at  her 
convenience.  In  the  meanwhile  Dr.  Storey  was  so 
alarmed  at  the  news  that  he  determined  to  save 
himself  by  flight  rather  than  have  to  choose  between 
taking  the  oath  or  being  hanged.  He  accordingly 
made  the  attempt  about  ten  days  ago  with  the 
assistance  of  a  Flemish  gentleman  who  was  con 
fined  in  the  same  prison  for  debt.  He  went  into 
a  garden  at  midnight,  and  having  scaled  the  wall 
came  to  the  river,  where  he  took  a  boat  and  came 
to  my  dwelling.  He  asked  for  a  chaplain  of  mine 
with  whom  it  appears  he  had  had  some  conversation 
about  his  intention,  although  the  chaplain  had  not 
approved  of  it.  As  he  was  not  in  the  house,  he 
awaited  his  arrival,  and  when  he  came  begged  him 
to  help  him  to  escape.  The  chaplain  excused 
himself  as  best  he  could,  and  even  compelled  him 
to  leave  the  house  immediately,  which  he  did,  and 
got  away  safely,  at  least  up  to  the  present  they  have 
not  been  able  to  find  him.  By  the  indications  of 
the  boatmen  and  some  of  the  prison  warders  the 
Council  has  discovered  that  this  man  disembarked 
at  my  house,  and  as  soon  as  they  learnt  it,  which 
was  already  nearly  midnight,  they  sent  the  marshal 
to  me  to  demand  the  surrender  of  the  man.  I,  who 
ba'rely  even  heard  that  he  had  escaped  from  prison, 
answered  that  I  knew  nothing  whatever  about  him, 
as  I  and  D'Assonleville  had  been  the  whole  day  in  the 
E  II. 


5o  BLESSED   JOHN   STOREY 


country  and  we  returned  home  very  late,  but  that  if 
they  liked  to  search  the  house  they  were  welcome  to 
do  so,  and  I  added  that  if  they  discovered  that  any 
servant  of  mine  had  helped  him  in  his  flight  or 
hiding,  I  would  have  him  punished  without  any 
respect." 

The  Bishop  then  found  on  inquiry  that  the 
chaplain  had  known  of  the  escape  but  had  not 
helped  it.  He  reproved  him  for  not  informing  him 
of  the  matter  and  sent  him  away  to  a  friend's  house, 
since  as  he  was  a  man  who  knew  every  Catholic  in 
the  place,  and  had  absolved  and  administered  the 
sacraments  to  many,  it  would  be  very  dangerous  if 
the  Council  got  hold  of  him.  They  did  send  for 
him  later,  but  Quadra  excused  himself,  saying  he 
could  not  dispense  with  his  chaplain.  As  he  tells 
the  King  (in  cipher)  :  "  I  will  rather  put  up  with 
the  molestation  of  these  Councillors,  than  expose 
so  many  people  to  suffering  and  injury,  as  would  be 
the  case  if  this  chaplain  were  to  be  handed  over." 
The  Ambassador,  however,  thought  it  was  safest  to 
get  the  chaplain  out  of  the  way,  and  sent  him 
secretly  over  to  Flanders. 

The  King  answered  on  June  the  i5th  : 1 

"  I  note  what  has  happened  about  the  flight  of 
Storey,  and  as  your  chaplain  aided  him  to  escape 
you  have  done  well  in  deciding  to  send  him  to 
Flanders,  in  consequence  of  the  inconveniences  that 
might  result  from  his  statements  if  they  were  to 

1  Spanish  Calendar,  vol.  i.  n.  230,  p.  333. 


BLESSED   JOHN   STOREY  5z 

take  and  interrogate  him.  I  do  not  think  he  would 
do  anything  in  this  matter  to  render  him  deserving 
of  punishment." 

Meanwhile  Dr.  Storey  had  succeeded  in  escaping 
the  hands  of  his  enemies.  After  lying  hid  for  some 
time  in  the  houses  of  divers  of  his  friends,  he  landed 
in  safety  in  Belgium,  and  took  up  his  quarters  in 
Louvain. 

Here,  beside  the  ordinary  trials  of  exile,  he  had 
to  bear  those  of  poverty.  His  family,  who  came 
to  join  him  at  Louvain,  were  now  increased  in 
number,  and  he  had  lost  all  he  possessed  in  the 
world.  Added  to  this  he  had  to  bear  interior  trials, 
for  his  conscience  was  continually  tormented  with 
the  fear  that  he  had  done  wrong  in  escaping  from 
death,  since  thereby  he  had  lost  the  crown  of 
martyrdom.  He  spoke  of  this  scruple  very  often 
to  his  wife,  and  sometimes  also  to  his  friends,  and 
on  one  occasion  he  confided  his  trouble  to  our 
informant,  Sander,  asking  him  whether  it  would  be 
lawful  for  him  to  give  himself  up  once  more  into  the 
power  of  the  heretics.  "  But  I,"  says  Sander,  "did 
not  venture  to  advise  him  to  return  to  prison.  For 
it  seemed  that  he  had  been  delivered  by  the  design 
of  God,  and  that  he  could  not  count  upon  the 
divine  grace,  if  he  placed  himself  in  danger,  when 
God  had  set  him  free."  He  then  wished  to  devote 
the  rest  of  his  life  to  penance,  and  he  fixed  upon  the 
Charterhouse  at  Louvain  as  a  fitting  place  of 
retirement,  intending  to  enter  that  Order,  if  his 
wife  also  would  agree  to  embrace  the  religious 


52  BLESSED   JOHN   STOREY 

state.  But  though  she  refused  to  do  this,  Storey 
nevertheless  remained  so  firm  in  his  resolution  to 
do  penance,  that  he  spent  more  time  in  prayer  with 
the  Carthusians  than  at  home  with  his  family.1  But 
his  poverty  was  so  great  that  he  was  forced  to  look 
out  for  means  of  livelihood,  especially  when  those 
dependent  on  him  for  bread  were  increased  in 
number  by  a  nephew  and  niece  and  their  family, 
who  were  sent  out  from  England  to  him.  As  he 
had  four  children  of  his  own  it  can  be  imagined 
that  he  had  difficulty  in  providing  them  with 
the  barest  necessaries.  His  married  daughter, 
Mrs.  Weston,  and  her  children  also,  came  out  to 
join  him,  her  husband  being  a  prisoner  in  the  Fleet. 
It  is  true  that  he  was  highly  thought  of  by  the 
Duke  of  Alva,  and  that  at  his  intercession  the  King 
allowed  him  a  grant  of  a  hundred  florins  out  of  the 
revenues  of  the  Augustinian  Abbey  of  St.  Gertrude 
at  Louvain.2 

Later  on  we  find  a  spy  writing  to  Cecil  (the  7th  of 
April,  1570),  "Storey  remains  at  Brussels  .  .  .  and 
has  continual  access  to  the  Duke  of  Alva,  and  was 
lately  rewarded  with  250  crowns."'  Again,  on  April 
the  i6th  he  writes  :  "  The  Duke  of  Alva  has  delivered 
to  Storey  of  the  benevolence  of  the  King  of  Spain 
a  thousand  crowns  to  be  distributed  among  the 
scholars  at  Louvain  and  Douay.  The  religious 
men  and  women  in  this  country,  being  English,  are 
appointed  to  receive  £10  a  piece. "• 

1  So  also  Molanus,  De  Claris  Exteris,  being  part  ii.  of  his  Historic 
Lovaniensum,  lib.  xii.  cap.  i. 

2  Foreign  Calendar,  1560 — 1561,  n.  846. 

3  Foreign  Calendar,  1570,  n.  803.  4  Ibid.  n.  811. 


BLESSED   JOHN   STOREY  53 

Blessed  John  Storey  thus  acted  as  the  King's 
almoner  for  his  distressed  fellow-countrymen.  This 
is  no  doubt  what  the  spy  means  by  calling  him 
"still  a  preferrer  of  all  the  English  traitors'  business 
and  causes." 

But  all  the  while  he  was  very  insufficiently 
provided  for  himself,  and  was  quite  at  a  loss  what 
to  do  to  earn  his  daily  bread. 

Meanwhile  his  enemies  at  home  were  not  idle  ; 
and  the  martyrdom  he  so  ardently  desired,  he  was 
by  the  grace  of  God  at  length  enabled  to  attain  to. 
Elizabeth,  Leicester,  and  Cecil  laid  the  following  plot 
to  entrap  him  :  The  King  of  Spain  and  the  Duke 
of  Alva  had  recently  appointed  an  office  at  Antwerp 
for  the  search  of  all  English  ships  going  into  or 
coming  out  of  that  port,  in  order  to  prevent  the 
traffic  in  heretical  books  and  other  forbidden  mer 
chandise.  The  English  Government,  hearing  of 
this,  saw  in  it  a  means  of  wreaking  their  vengeance 
upon  our  martyr.  "  One  William  Parker,  brother 
of  Elizabeth's  new  Archbishop,1  a  wool-draper,  a 
man  well  skilled  in  mercantile  affairs,  was  largely 
bribed  by  the  Council  to  go  to  the  Low  Countries 
to  the  Duke  of  Alva,  and  professing  himself  a 


1  We  are  quoting  Mr.  Simpson  (p.  187).  He  adds  that  the 
relationship  of  this  Parker  to  the  Archbishop  is  affirmed  in  a 
marginal  note  attached  to  one  of  his  letters  to  Cecil,  in  the  Record 
Office.  It  is  true  that  Strype  does  not  mention  William  as  one  of 
the  Archbishop's  brothers,  probably  because  of  his  being  a  Popish 
lost  sheep,  as  he  (not  knowing  the  plot)  would  consider  him.  Many 
of  the  Archbishop's  near  relations  were  connected  with  the  wool 
trade,  according  to  Strype,  and  his  father's  name  was  William; 
it  was  therefore  a  family  name  and  family  trade. 


54  BLESSED   JOHN   STOREY 

fugitive  from  England,  and  a  convert  to  the  Catholic 
faith,  to  solicit  the  office  in  question.  The  Duke, 
rejoicing  beyond  measure  in  having  such  a  near 
relation  to  the  chief  spiritual  heretic  in  England 
for  a  convert  and  refugee,  and  withal  a  man  so 
skilled  in  mercantile  affairs,  gladly  conferred  on 
him  the  office  he  asked  for.  As  soon  as  he  was 
installed,  he  named  as  his  assistant  Dr.  Storey  who, 
as  we  have  seen,  was  living  in  great  poverty  at 
Louvain.  He  considered  it  his  duty  to  his  family 
to  accept  the  office,  against  the  wish  of  his  friends, 
who  told  him  it  was  an  odious  one,  and  unworthy 
of  a  man  of  his  position.  Thus  the  first  part  of  the 
plot  was  successful."  The  second  part  was  soon  to 
follow,  and  it  proved  to  be  a  most  audacious  act  of 
vindictive  and  illegal  treachery. 

It  seems  that  a  certain  John  Mershe,  one  John 
Lee,  and  a  man  named  Saltanstall  were  agents  for 
Cecil  in  the  Low  Countries.  They  were  spies  in 
his  pay,  pretending  to  be  good  Catholics  in  exile  for 
the  faith,  and  reporting  to  their  chief  all  that  they 
could  worm  out  of  the  confidence  of  the  Catholic 
refugees,  or  that  their  malignant  ingenuity  could 
invent  against  them.  Great  numbers  of  these 
refugees  were  now  collected  in  the  Low  Countries 
under  the  protection  of  their  former  Sovereign, 
King  Philip.  Some  of  them,  like  Storey  himself, 
despairing  of  England  after  the  failure  of  the 
Northern  Rising,  seem  to  have  become  naturalized 
as  Spanish  subjects.  Priests,  lawyers,  knights, 
peers,  noble  ladies,  representatives  of  all  sorts  and 
ranks  were  there,  united  by  a  common  faith  and 


BLESSED   JOHN   STOREY  55 

a  common  suffering.  Victims  all  of  them  of 
Elizabeth's  tyrannical  laws,  they  preferred  to  serve 
God  in  exile  rather  than  stain  their  consciences 
by  apostasy  from  the  faith.  Among  the  more 
prominent  of  these  exiles  were  the  Earl  of 
Westmoreland,  the  Countess  of  Northumberland 
(wife  of  the  Blessed  Thomas  Percy),  the  Nortons, 
and  Leonard  Dacre,  who  had  been  the  leaders  of 
the  Rising  in  the  North.  Who  shall  blame  them 
if  they  looked  to  Spain  to  help  them  and  their 
country  in  its  hour  of  need  ?  Blessed  John  Eisher 
had  besought  the  Emperor  through  Chapuys,  the 
Imperial  Ambassador,  to  invade  England  in  the  time 
of  Henry  VIII.,  in  order  to  preserve  the  Catholic 
faith  in  the  land,  and  we  cannot  wonder  (especially 
now  that  Elizabeth  had  been  excommunicated 
by  St.  Pius  V.)  if  English  Catholics  in  their 
distress  looked  to  that  Emperor's  son  to  be  the 
champion  of  their  proscribed  religion.  There  is 
no  proof  however  (except  the  mere  assertion  of  his 
bitter  foes)  that  Blessed  John  Storey  was  in  any  way 
implicated  in  any  plot  against  the  Queen  or  her 
Government.  As  we  shall  see,  the  indictment 
brought  against  him  at  his  trial  did  not  venture  to 
charge  him  with  any  specific  treasonable  act,  but 
merely,  in  the  usual  vague  way,  of  conspiring  the 
death  of  the  Queen,  just  as  in  the  case  of  Blessed 
Edmund  Campion  and  his  companions.  The  real 
cause  of  the  hatred  against  him  was  his  well-known 
zeal  for  the  old  religion. 

Among  this  company  of  Catholic  exiles  moved 
the  spies  whom  Cecil's  gold  had  bought  body  and 


56  BLESSED  JOHN  STOREY 

soul.  Feigning  themselves  to  be  devout  Catholics, 
living  lives  of  continual  sacrilege  and  of  unspeak 
able  treachery,  they  wove  their  dark  plots  for  the 
destruction  of  those  who  trusted  and  befriended 
them. 

The  plan  conceived  against  Blessed  John  Storey 
in  Cecil's  crafty  brain,  to  be  carried  out  by  these 
agents,  was  no  less  a  one  than  to  kidnap  him  while 
he  was  discharging  the  duties  of  his  office  and  carry 
him  over  to  England.  Mershe  and  Lee,  in  con 
junction  with  Parker  and  a  certain  Pigotte,  arranged 
that  a  ship,  sufficiently  manned  and  armed  for  the 
purpose,  should  enter  the  port  of  Antwerp,  and  that 
Dr.  Storey  should  be  induced  to  visit  it  for  pro 
hibited  goods  which  were  to  be  placed  in  her.  The 
plan  nearly  failed  owing  to  the  indiscretion  of 
Pigotte,  and  the  information  of  one  of  the  sailors, 
who  suspected  the  plot  and  ran  away,  and  after 
wards  told  Parker  to  take  care  of  himself,  thinking 
that  he  was  the  victim  of,  and  not  a  partaker  in,  the 
conspiracy. 

However,  three  merchants  trading  to  the  Low 
Countries,  viz.,  Roger  Ramsden,  Martin  Bragge, 
and  Simon  Jewkes,  allured  by  the  bribes  of  the 
Lords  of  the  Council,  were  found  ready  to  under 
take  the  dangerous  enterprise  which  Pigotte  had 
mismanaged.  They  arranged  with  the  captain  of  a 
smack,  by  name  Cornelius  Van  Eycke,  and  settled 
that  this  time  the  point  of  departure  should  be 
Bergen-op-Zoom,  opposite  Zealand,  about  thirty- 
five  miles  north  of  Antwerp.  The  plan  was  that  as 
soon  as  Dr.  Storey  and  Parker  should  go  under  the 


BLESSED   JOHN   STOREY  57 

hatches  to  search  the  cargo,  the  hatches  were  to  be 
shut  down,  and  the  two  conveyed  to  England,  all 
sail  being  set  as  quickly  as  possible ;  nobody 
knowing  at  the  time  the  complicity  of  Parker  but 
Mershe  and  Lee  who,  under  the  English  Govern 
ment,  were  the  chief  conspirators.  This  was 
accordingly  acted  upon,  and  was  perfectly  success 
ful.  Dr.  Storey  was  landed  at  Yarmouth  on  the 
evening  of  the  I4th  of  August,  1570.  Cecil  had  got 
his  enemy  into  his  clutches  again,  and  this  time  he 
would  take  care  he  did  not  escape. 

Storey  wrote  to  Cecil  from  Yarmouth  the 
morning  after  his  landing  as  follows : 

"In  first  proof  that  I  am  personally  present  in 
this  the  Queen's  Majesty's  town  of  Yarmouth,  I  am 
bold  to  scribble  unto  your  honour  these  presents. 
The  circumstances  of  my  apprehension  on  water  by 
Zealand,  this  bearer  and  his  company,  diligent  and 
yet  merciful,  can  better  declare  than  myself,  deceived 
by  my  simple  and  yet  foxy  skipper,  can  but  by 
conjecture  declare.  If  it  shall  stand  to  your 
pleasure  to  have  me  restored  to  my  keeper,  from 
whom  like  a  very  wreckling  I  did  escape,  then  it  is 
my  humble  suit  unto  her  Majesty  and  your  honour 
so  to  temper  the  yet  continued  heat  of  my  said 
keeper,  that  he  content  himself  with  laying  on  irons 
on  that  of  my  legs  which  is  only  able  to  bear  the 
same,  until  your  leisure  may  serve  to  call  the  corpus 
before  you,  or  so  with  charity  to  dispose  the  same, 
now  much  decaying  and  decayed,  by  competent 
lodging,  that  it  perish  not  ante  tempus  a  Deoprczfixum. 


BLESSED   JOHN   STOREY 


If  any  pre-occupation  have  been  used  with  your 
honour  of  me  by  Mr.  John  Mershe,  late  at  Brussels, 
or  Mr.  Thomas  Palie,  now  turned  a1  Je  .  .  .  ,  it 
may  yet  like  you  audire  alterant  partem,  in  which 
your  doing,  sicut  non  pcenitebit ;  ita  opposita  juxta 
seposita  magis  elucescent.  Decinw  quinto  Aug.  Tui 

honoris  orator. 

"JOANNES  STOREY."^ 

This  letter  was  sent  up  to  London  by  Parker 
and  Simon  Jewkes,  as  we  learn  from  the  following 
items  in  the  bill  of  expenses3  which  was  afterwards 
to  form  such  a  bone  of  contention.  (Parker  was  of 
course  a  nominal  prisoner  and  Jewkes  his  keeper.) 

"  Paid  at  Yarmouth  for  three  horses 
and  a  post,  sent  up  with  Parker  and 
Simon  Jewkes £2  I  4 

Paid  them  in  their  purses,  to  bear  their 

charges  to  London  and  to  the  court  .300" 

Parker  however  broke  down  on  his  journey  when 
he  got  to  St.  Alban's,  and  sent  Cecil  the  following 
letter  from  thence  : 

"  Right  Honourable,— Not  long  since  your 
Honour  was  advertised  from  Yarmouth  of  the 
arrival  of  Dr.  Storey,  brought  from  beyond  the  seas 
by  me  and  my  supports,  or  assistants,  the  I4th 
of  this  instant,  about  eight  of  the  clock  in  the 
afternoon ;  since  which  time  I  have  been  travelling 
towards  your  Honour,  with  whom  my  hearty  desire 

1  Illegible.  2  R.O.  Domestic,  Elizabeth,  Ixxiii.  18. 

3  R.O.  Domestic,  Elizabeth,  Ixxiii.  64. 


BLESSED   JOHN   STOREY  59 

is  to  have  conference  of  those  things  which  in  these 
affairs  doth  appertain  ;  but  being  a  man  not  much 
used  to  travel,  I  have  over-travelled  myself,  so  as 
yet  I  could  not  attain  to  the  presence  of  your 
Honour,  and  also  not  having  any  determinate  time 
to  have  any  access  to  your  Honour,  which  I  require, 
if  it  may  stand  with  your  Honour  to  signify  the 
same  by  the  bearer  hereof,  and  then  shall  I  give  my 
diligent  attendance  at  all  times,  according  to  my 
bounden  duty  herewith.  The  Almighty  have  your 
Honour  in  His  blessed  tuition. 

"  From  St.  Alban's,  this  present  night,  i8th 
August,  1570. 

"  By  your  honour's  obedient  during  life, 

"WILLIAM  PARKER."1 

Roger  Ramsden  and  the  rest  set  off  with  their 
prisoners  after  a  three  days'  stay  in  Yarmouth, 
having  received  a  strict  injunction  to  let  Storey 
speak  to  no  one.  So  rigorously  was  this  injunction 
observed,  that  one  Gosling,  a  bailiff,  got  into  trouble 
for  supplying  the  prisoner  with  kersey  to  make 
hose  of.'2 

The  bill  here  also  supplies  us  with  considerable 
information. 

"  Paid  for  5  more  horses  when  we  came 
up  is.  and  to  the  post  for  his  pains, 
and  for  bringing  up  our  mails  and 
other  things £3  10  o 

1  R.O.  Domestic,  Elizabeth,  Ixxiii.  21. 

-  The  martyr  was  most  probably  imprisoned  in  the  ancient 
Toil  House,  a  picturesque  mediaeval  building  which  contains 
several  dungeons. 


60  BLESSED   JOHN   STOREY 

Paid  for  our  charges  at  Yarmouth  the 
space  of  3  days  with  the  Doctor, 
Parker  and  the  rest  so  long  as  they 
were  in  our  company,  as  also  that 
which  was  spent  upon  the  master 
and  mariners 3  15  o 

Paid  for  all  our  charges  from  Yarmouth 

to  London 5  10  o 

Paid  for  our  charges  here  in  London  to 
this  26  of  August,  1570,  with  our 
horse  meat  the  first  night  ....0132 

Paid  for  one  to  help  to  bring  up  the  hoye 
from  Yarmouth  to  London  because 
the  master  came  up  with  us  .  .  .010  2" 

Blessed  John  Storey  arrived  in  London  August 
the  2ist.  His  capture  naturally  caused  great  excite 
ment  and  unbounded  joy  among  the  heretics.  The 
Spanish  agent,  Don  Antonio  de  Guaras,  wrote 
August  the  2oth  to  Zayas  as  follows : 

"  I  wrote  to  your  Worship  on  the  i6th  and  the 
news  since  then  is  that  they  have  enticed  Dr.  Storey, 
whom  you  will  know,  on  board  a  ship  in  Flanders, 
and  have  brought  him  hither.  He  was  betrayed  by 
a  false  companion  of  his,  a  treacherous  Englishman, 
and  an  acquaintance  of  mine  met  the  traitor  on  the 
i6th  instant  coming  from  Yarmouth  whither  Storey 
had  been  taken. 

"  My  acquaintance  seeing  the  traitor  alone  was 
surprised  that  he  should  be  here;  the -latter  said: 
'  I  have  come  hither  to  do  the  Queen  a  great  service, 


BLESSED  JOHN   STOREY  61 

for  I  have  managed  to  bring  into  England  a  bitter 
enemy  of  the  Queen  and  this  country.'  It  is  now 
understood  that  Dr.  Storey  will  arrive  here  a  prisoner 
to-night  or  to-morrow." 

In  a  letter  written  three  days  later  the  Ambas 
sador  adds :  "  These  people  in  London  are  only 
talking  of  the  martyrs  they  are  going  to  make." 

The  jubilation  of  the  Protestants  may  be  judged 
from  the  following  letter  of  Bishop  Horn,  of  Win 
chester,  written  to  Bullinger  a  year  later  (August, 

I571)' 

"There  was  here  not  long  since  a  doctor  of 
laws,  of  some  learning,  such  a  one  as  I  imagine  as 
those  among  the  Jews  who  menaced  Christ  with 
death.  His  name  is  Storey,  a  man  as  it  were  born 
for  cruelty,  a  most  raging  persecutor  in  Marian 
times  to  whom  it  was  gain  to  kill  the  saints  and 
sport  to  shed  blood. 

"  This  man  after  the  happy  day  had  shone  on  us 
.  .  .  was  thrown  into  prison  on  an  evident  charge 
of  treason.  A  short  time  afterwards  ...  he 
escaped  to  Flanders,  .  .  .  where  like  a  fury  fresh 
from  hell,  or  more  truly  like  a  wicked  Davus,  it  is 
wonderful  how  he  made  mischief.  .  .  .  There 
comes  to  him  one  of  his  friends,  whose  fidelity  he 
least  suspected,  but  who  had  been  suborned  by  the 
merchants.1  This  man  whispers  in  his  ear  that  a 
ship  has  just  arrived  from  England  with  I  know 

1  Even  Horn  did  not  know  that  Parker  had  been  sent  to 
Flanders  for  the  very  purpose  of  kidnapping  the  martyr.  But  it  is 
evident  from  the  whole  letter  that  Horn  cared  little  for^accuracy. 


62  BLESSED   JOHN   STOREY 

not  what  golden  mountains  of  treasure.  Fired  with 
the  love  of  plunder,  he  straightway  sallies  forth, 
promising  the  money  to  himself  and  death  to  the 
merchants.  After  he  had  entered  the  ship  and 
was  prying  about  in  every  corner,  and  had  just 
gone  down  into  the  interior  of  the  vessel,  they 
suddenly  closed  the  hatches,  and  with  their  sails  set, 
are  carried  by  a  prosperous  and  safe  breeze  to 
England. 

"  And  so  at  length  he  was  brought  to  London 
amidst  the  great  congratulations  of  the  people 
awaiting  him  on  his  return."1 

The  Lords  of  the  Council  ordered  Dr.  Watts, 
Archdeacon  of  London,  to  take  care  of  Dr.  Storey 
till  the  Lollards'  Tower2  could  be  got  ready  for  his 
reception ;  for  no  common  prison  would  do  for  such 
a  man. 

As  Lord  Cobham  wrote  to  Cecil :  "  In  my 
poor  opinion  no  common  prison  is  fit  for  him,  for  he 
shall  find  too  many  friends."  "  No,"  comments 
Simpson,  "  the  man  who  might  have  put  Cecil  and 

1  Zurich  Letters,  First  Series,  n.  98. 

2  Not  the  tower  at  Lambeth  Palace,  commonly  so  called,  but 
a  tower  attached  to  St.  Paul's  Cathedral,  where  heretics  who  came 
under  the  Bishop  of  London's  jurisdiction  were  confined.     "At 
each  corner  of  this  West  End  [of  St.  Paul's]  was  a  strong  tower 
of  stone,  made  for  Bell-Towers,  one  of  them,  viz.,  that  next  the 
Bishop's  Palace,  was  used  by  the  Palace  in  Stow's  time,  and  the 
other,  toward  the  South,  was  called  the  Lollards'  Tower,  and  used  as 
the  Bishop's  Prison,   for  such  as  were  detected  for  Opinions  in 
Religion  contrary  to  the  Faith  of  the  Church."  (The  History  and 
Survey  of  the  Cities  of  London  and  Westminster.     By  Seymour  and 
Marchant.     London,  1754,  vol.  i.  p.  739.) 


BLESSED  JOHN  STOREY  63 

Leicester,  and  Elizabeth  herself  to  death,  and  had 
only  put  them  in  fear,  was  not  to  be  allowed  the 
use  of  friends.  He  was  to  have  no  common  prison, 
the  vindictiveness  of  the  Court  faction  was  to  ape 
the  vengeance  of  God,  and  Dr.  Storey  was  to  be 
punished  by  that  wherein  he  had  sinned.  The 
Lollards'  Tower,  in  which  he  shut  up  the  heretics 
whom  the  ancient  laws  then  punished,  was  to  be 
new-locked  and  bolted  to  shut  him  up." 

On  August  the  26th,  Archdeacon  Watts  wrote 
to  Cecil  that  on  the  Friday  evening  last  Dr.  Storey 
had  been  brought  to  his  house,  "albeit  I  am  very 
unmeet  and  unprovided  for  such  a  charge."  The 
Lollards'  Tower  should  be  made  ready  for  him,  the 
locks  and  bolts  having  been  broken  off  its  doors  at 
the  death  of  Queen  Mary  and  never  repaired  since. 

"  My  house  is  so  weak,"  he  plaintively  adds, 
"that  I  am  forced  to  get  men  to  watch  every  night, 
which  is  a  great  trouble  to  me ;  and  the  care  that  I 
have  of  his  safe  keeping  (being  a  person  of  whom 
such  an  account  is  made)  doth  much  impair  my 
health.  I  will  commit  him  to  the  Lollards'  Tower  as 
soon  as  it  is  ready,  and  will  appoint  a  couple  of 
keepers  to  keep  him  there."1 

He  wrote  again  on  September  the  4th,  that 
Storey  had  been  in  the  Lollards'  Tower  since  the 
Friday  before. 

"  He  seemeth  to  take  little  thought  for  any 
matters,  and  is  as  perverse  in  mind  concerning 

1  R.O.  Domestic,  Elizabeth,  Ixxiii.  30. 


64 


BLESSED   JOHN   STOREY 


religion  as  heretofore  he  hath  been ;  and  plainly 
saith  that  what  he  did  in  Queen  Mary's  time  he  did 
it  lawfully,  because  he  was  but  a  minister  of  the 
law ;  and  if  the  like  law  were  again  he  might  do  the 
like.  I  have  appointed  two  of  my  neighbours,  being 
honest  men  and  favourers  of  the  truth,  to  be  his 
keepers  jointly,  and  have  divided  the  keys  of  the 
prison  between  them,  so  as  the  one  cannot  come 
at  him  without  the  other;  and  I  have  given  them 
strait  charge  to  keep  him  secret  and  safe,  and  not 
to  suffer  any  to  have  conference  with  him."1 

Meanwhile  the  blessed  martyr  was  filled  with 
supernatural  joy.  Though  entirely  taken  by  surprise 
at  his  capture,  he  soon  divined  what  was  in  prospect 
for  him,  and  earnestly  gave  thanks  to  God,  who  had 
brought  him  back  again  to  the  place  of  suffering, 
ardently  praying  that  he  might  obtain  the  martyr's 
crown  and  palm.2  The  Catholics  were  plunged  into 
deep  distress,  and  many  prayers  went  up  to  Heaven 
that  he  might  be  constant  in  the  hour  of  trial. 

The  Spanish  Ambassador,  Don  Guerau  de  Spes, 
wrote  on  September  the  3rd : 

"Dr.  Storey  is  at  present  very  strictly  imprisoned 
and  is  being  examined.  The  man  who  betrayed 
him  is  also  under  arrest,  in  order  to  make  the  people 
believe  that  he  did  not  betray  him.  Many  burlesque 
verses  have  been  printed  about  the  kidnapping  of 
Storey."3 

1  R.O.  Domestic,  Elizabeth,  Ixxxiii.  30.  2  Concertatio,  f.  44. 

3  Spanish  Calendar,  1570,  n.  216. 


BLESSED   JOHN   STOREY  65 

On  the  nth  he  wrote  to  the  King  : 

''The  captain  of  the  smack  which  brought 
Dr.  Storey  is  called  Cornelius  Hadria,1  who  I  do 
not  think  is  a  Bergen  man.  He  is  swaggering 
about  here  very  impudently.  He  arranged  the 
matter  with  Mershe  the  English  commissioner,  and 
others  whose  names  I  am  ascertaining." 

Meanwhile  the  rogues  engaged  in  this  conspiracy 
were  quarrelling  over  the  payment  and  division  of 
the  spoil.  William  Parker  was  the  luckiest  of  all ; 
for  as  Cecil  did  not  desire  the  share  he  had  in  it 
to  be  known,  and  as  for  appearance  sake  he  was  to 
be  kept  in  prison  and  tried  with  Dr.  Storey  as  an 
accomplice  with  him,  under  the  pretence  that  both 
of  them  were  entrapped  and  brought  over  as  traitors, 
it  was  necessary  to  pay  him  very  handsomely  not 
to  divulge  the  plot,  and  to  submit  quietly  to  his 
imprisonment  in  the  Tower,  to  which  both  he  and 
Storey  were  transferred  in  December.  Among  the 
State  Papers  we  find  Sir  Owen  Hopton  the 
Lieutenant's  charges  for  their  maintenance  there  ; 
each  of  them  being  charged  135.  4d.  a  week  for 
diet,  55.  for  a  keeper,  and  45.  for  fuel  and  lights.2 

John  Mershe  wrote  to  Cecil  and  Leicester  on 
the  nth  of  September,  1570,  enclosing  the  porten 
tous  bill  of  charges  presented  by  his  accomplices : 

"  Right  Honourable,  my  duty  remembered,  I 
am  earnestly  pressed  by  these  3  young  men  who 

1  Ramsden  and  his  companions  call  him  Cornelius  Adrianson, 
but  Van  Eycke  seems  to  have  been  his  real  name. 

2  R.O.  Domestic,  Elizabeth,  Ixxiii.  46. 

F  II. 


66  BLESSED   JOHN   STOREY 


brought  over  Dr.  Storey  to  commend  their  suit  to 
your  Honours,  which  is  that  they  may  be  answered 
such  money  as  they  say  they  have  laid  out,  amount 
ing,  besides  £68  us.  4<i.,  which  I  have  answered  to 
that  account,  £109  35.  2d.,  as  by  an  account  which 
they  will  exhibit  may  appear.  And  therefore  I  am 
bold  to  be  a  humble  suitor  unto  your  Honours 
to  be  as  good  to  them  as  may  be  ;  for  they  have 
adventured  so  far  as  they  may  no  more  go  into 
the  Low  Countries,  their  names  being  notoriously 
known,  and  yet  two  of  them  are  married.  They 
trust  also  that  their  dangerous  services  taken  in 
hand  with  so  good  a  will  is  taken  in  so  good  part 
that  they  shall  have  some  further  consideration,  and 
although  they  have  kept  themselves  close  in  one 
house  which  is  clear,  yet  will  they  spend  5  or  6 
days  in  the  country  ere  they  come  to  the  city." 

We  much  regret  that  considerations  of  space 
forbid  us  from  printing  the  bill  of  charges  in  its 
entirety.  It  is  a  most  interesting  document  and  the 
effrontery  of  the  ingenuous  young  men  who  drew  it 
up  is  very  amusing.  It  evidently  quite  took  away  the 
breath  of  the  worthies  to  whom  it  was  addressed.2 

It  is  headed  A  die  23  Julii  anno  1570,  and  has 
been  annotated  by  Mershe  as  we  shall  see.  The 
whole  comes  to  the  respectable  total  of  £177  145.  6d. 
(which  may  perhaps  be  multiplied  by  at  least  eight 
to  get  the  modern  value).  This  bill  was  of  course 

1  R.O.  Domestic,  Elizabeth,  Ixxiii.  62. 

2  It  is  printed  in  Kervyn  de  Lettenhove,  Relations  Politiques  des 
Fays  Bas  et  de  I'Angleterre,  etc.  torn.  vi. 


BLESSED   JOHN  STOREY  6? 


for  money  out  of  pocket,  and   did  not  include  the 
reward  claimed  by  the  merchants.    Among  the  more 
interesting  items  are  the  following  : 
"  Paid   for  our   charges    the   space    xiii 
days     at    the    English     house     in 
Barrow  as  well   for   Parker  as   for 
ourselves    and   two    men    more   for 
divers  which  came  out  of  Zealand 
and  from  Antwerp,  as  also  expenses 
upon    the     master    and     mariners 
during  our  abode  there     ....£846 

(Margin,  Too  much.) 

Paid  more  than  we  were  fain  to  give  to 
be  released  of  a  hoye  which  we  had 
bought  at  Barrow  aforesaid  for 
that  she  was  not  so  able,  nor  so 
fit  to  serve  our  turn  as  we  took  her 

to  be 16  13     4 

(Margin,  /  doubt  thereof.) 

Paid  more  to  be  released  of  x  sacks  of 
tow  and  other  things  which  at  the 
first  were  determined  to  be  laid 
upon  the  said  hoye,  and  afterwards 
we  resolved  upon  the  contrary  .  .  328 

Paid  more  for  beer,  bread  and  beef  and 
other  victuals  for  this  our  last  hoye 
our  company  being  in  all  x  persons     10     o     o 
(Margin,  There  was  V  liv.  paid.) 

Paid  to  Cornelius  Adrianson  skipper  for 
his  freight,  according  to  our  bargain 

made  with  him 50     o     o 

(Margin,  He  had  but  33  liv.  6s.  M.) 


BLESSED   JOHN   STOREY 


Paid  unto  iii  mariners  which  we  hired 

for  x  liv.  a  man,  whereof  the  one 

had   but  iii  liv.  vis.  viiid.  in  hand 

and  afterwards  ran  away  from  us, 

so  that  to  encourage  the  rest  which 

we   feared    would    have    done    the 

like,  we   granted  them   the  rest  of 

his  hire,  so  have  they  in  all    ...     30     o     o 

(Margin,  He    that  maketh  freight 

with  the   master   hireth   also  the 

mariners.} 

Paid  more  unto  one  Englishman  which 
we  took  with  us  for  over  more 
strength,  if  need  should  have  been, 
as  also  to  be  our  pilot  when  occasion 

might  serve Z3     "     ° 

(Margin,/  think  he  had  xx  or  xxxfl.) 
More  we   have   promised   unto  another 
Englishman   as  well   for  his  pains 
taken  on  the  other  side  as  also  for 
his  coming  with  us  for  over  more 
aid  and  strength,  whatsoever  might 
have  happened  by  the  way     .     .     .     20     o     o 
(Margin,  This  was  needless,  I  would 
they  had  left  him  alone.)  " 

Of  the  total  sum  they  had  already  received  over 
£68,  which  was  paid  to  them  at  Antwerp  by  one 
John  Taylor.  They  still  demanded  £109  35.  2d.  ; 
but  Cecil  was  not  disposed  to  give  a  penny  more, 
though  Mershe  wrote  many  strenuous  letters,  urging 
that  it  were  better  to  give  way,  for  if  the  young  men 


BLESSED   JOHN  STOREY  69 


were  made  discontented  the  affair  might  acquire  an 
awkward  publicity.  He  hoped,  however,  that  it 
would  not  be  thought  that  he  "allowed  of  their 
account,  which  I  think  untrue  and  unreasonable, 
as  by  the  notes  in  the  margin  may  appear ; 
but  yet  I  cannot  remove  them  from  it ;  they  doubt 
by  likelihood  how  they  shall  be  considered  [i.e., 
what  reward  they  will  get]  and  therefore  would  help 
themselves  this  way."  He  went  on  to  plead  for 
more  money  for  himself.1  We  learn  from  this  letter 
that  Ramsden  had  a  wife  and  children  at  Antwerp 
to  whom  he  could  not  safely  return,  and  that  he 
and  Bragge  had  refused  a  reward  of  £40  a  piece 
offered  them  by  Cecil's  agent  Lee,  <k  saying  they 
would  stand  to  the  reward  of  the  Lords  of  the 
Council." 

Cecil,  in  one  of  his  last  replies  (after  the  affair 
had  gone  on  some  time  and  Dr.  Storey  was  executed) 
jocosely  suggested  that  if  the  young  men  were  not 
satisfied,  they  might  have  Dr.  Storey's  carcase 
among  them  to  sell  as  relics.  They  at  last  invented 
a  new  tale,  namely,  that  they  had  left  £2,300  of 
debt  behind  them  in  the  Low  Countries  which 
the  Duke  of  Alva  had  confiscated  ;  for  that  the 
seizure  of  Dr.  Storey  had  very  much  embittered 
both  the  King  and  himself  against  Elizabeth  and 
her  Government.  However,  as  Simpson  says, 
if  there  had  been  any  truth  in  this  story,  "  we 
doubt  whether  they  would  have  been  a  whole 
twelvemonth  in  finding  it  out  as  an  argument  for 
the  payment  of  their  bill,  and  we  have  still  greater 
1  Letter  of  September  14,  1570.  R.O.  Domestic  .Elizabeth,  Ixxiii.  64. 


7° 


BLESSED   JOHN   STOREY 


doubts  whether  they  would  have  undertaken  the 
affair  with  the  almost  certain  prospect  of  losing 
everything  they  had  in  the  Low  Countries." 

We  may  end  this  episode  by  giving  one  of  their 
whining  letters  to  Cecil,  dated  June,  1571,  a  few 
days  after  the  martyrdom,  because  of  the  great  light 
it  throws  upon  the  whole  transaction.  We  do  not 
know  if  they  ever  got  their  money,  but  probably 
they  did  not.  As  it  was,  they  had  already  received 
considerably  more  than  the  traditional  thirty  pieces 
of  silver. 

"To  the  Right  Honourable  my  very  good  Lord 
the  Lord  of  Burghley,— - 

"The  cold  answer,  right  honourable,  which  of 
late  we  received  of  Mr.  Mershe  to  his  motion,  made 
as  he  saith,  of  our  cause  unto  your  lordship,  had 
wholly  dismayed  us,  had  not  the  right  honourable 
Earl  of  Leicester  sundry  times  declared  unto  us  the 
contrary ;  and  you  yourself  of  your  great  goodness 
very  lately  confirmed  the  same,  which  yieldeth  us 
indeed  great  hope  that  notwithstanding  the  said 
Mershe's  discouragement,  we  are  shortly  to  have 
some  good  end  of  that  which  so  long  we  had  sued 
for,  wherein  undoubtedly  your  great  bounty  shall  so 
much  the  more  appear  and  shine,  as  our  present 
necessity  doth  urgently  crave  the  same  ;  and  our 
hope  is  likewise  the  better  assured,  in  that  you  have 
used,  as  of  late  we  understand,  so  great  liberality 
towards  Parker,  whose  good  hap  in  that  behalf,  as 
we  do  not  in  any  wise  malign,  so  doubt  we  not  but 


BLESSED   JOHN   STOREY  71 

our  travail  and  losses,  without  whom  he  had  never 
prevailed,  will  also  be  somewhat  considered  accord 
ingly.  Yet  forasmuch  as  those,  perhaps,  to  whom 
we  had  partly  trusted,  have  not  so  effectually 
declared  our  cause  as  both  by  promise  and  in 
conscience  they  are  bound  to  do,  and  to  the  intent 
(whatsoever  report  be  made  to  the  contrary)  it  may 
plainly  appear  to  your  lordship,  that  of  all  prudence 
touching  those  affairs,  ours  hath  been  and  still  is  the 
greatest,  may  it  please  your  lordship  to  understand 
the  whole  order  how  we  came  hrst  to  deal  in  this 
matter.  The  thing  being  pretended  and  planned  by 
others  long  before,  charge  was  committed  unto  one 
Pigotte  to  furnish  a  ship  with  men  and  mariners 
sufficient  for  the  purpose.  He  proceeded  therein 
so  far,  that  the  very  place,  time,  and  tide  were 
appointed,  where  the  Doctor  should  be  shipped  with 
the  whole  train  almost  in  all  points  as  we  now 
lastly  used,  for  none  other  to  that  end  could  aptly 
have  served.  But  in  effect  those  matters  were  so 
slenderly  handled,  that  when  it  came  to  the  very 
point,  all  was  dashed  and  like  to  be  discovered.  For 
beside  that  the  men  and  mariners  forsook  the  enter 
prise,  and  refused  to  deal  any  more  therein,  certain 
of  them  letted  not  to  make  exclamation  at  Parker's 
house,  where  Storey  and  all  other  rebels  resorted  ; 
and  not  knowing  that  Parker  was  privy  thereunto, 
warned  him,  as  he  said  unto  us  himself,  to  take 
heed,  for  there  were  that  pretended  to  carry  him 
and  another  into  England.  Until  the  matter  was 
brought  into  this  exigent,  we  never  dealt  therein, 
nor  once  understood  of  any  such  pretence ;  and  in 


72  BLESSED   JOHN   STOREY 


this  extremity  did  one  John  Lee,  gentleman,  break 
the  news  unto  us,  declaring  how  lewdly  Pigotte  had 
ordered  the  matters,  greatly  complaining  the  danger 
he  stood  in  himself,  being  in  fear  their  enterprise 
would  be  bewrayed,  that  in  very  deed  he  once 
determined  with  the  rest  to  have  fled  and  absented 
themselves,  for  fear  of  the  peril  which  was  like  to 
ensue  ;  and  so  far  discoursed  upon  the  matter  with 
us,  that  plainly  we  perceived  him  to  be  the  principal 
dealer  therein  by  order  from  hence,  and  the  only 
man  that  by  promises  of  great  rewards  and  other 
things  had  allured  Parker  to  consent  thereunto : 
craving  instantly  (for  so  much  as  he  brought  the 
matter  so  far)  our  aid  and  assistance  in  that  distress 
towards  the  accomplishing  of  the  rest ;  whereunto, 
although  in  heart  we  were  very  well  inclined,  yet 
could  we  not  upon  such  a  sudden  be  persuaded  to 
hazard  all  that  we  had  and  our  lives  withal,  until 
such  time  as,  upon  sight  of  certain  letters  which  he 
showed  us  from  Mr.  Saltanstall  and  Mr.  Mershe, 
wherein  your  lordship  was  also  mentioned,  he 
showed  in  the  end  your  lordship's  own  letter  for 
confirmation  of  the  rest,  without  which  indeed  we 
had  not  so  far  endangered  ourselves  at  that  sudden. 
But  perceiving  thereby  that  our  service  should  be 
great  and  very  acceptable  to  the  State,  we  judged 
no  time  to  be  omitted,  nor  any  danger  refused, 
which  might  further  so  good  an  enterprise.  So  that 
it  was  neither  Lee,  Saltanstall,  or  Mershe,  but  the 
credit  of  your  lordship's  letters,  my  lord,  that  moved 
us,  all  other  things  set  apart,  presently  to  employ 
ourselves  that  way,  and  without  further  delibera- 


BLESSED   JOHN   STOREY  73 

tion  to  hazard  our  lives,  and  all  that  we  ever  had, 
rather  than  so  good  a  piece  of  service  should  be 
overthrown.  It  was  a  dangerous  attempt,  and  very 
well  handled  of  Lee,  the  winning  of  Parker  to 
consent  thereunto ;  for  without  him  the  Doctor 
could  never  have  been  blinded  in  such  sort  as  he 
was.  But  all  the  rest  was  our  deed  only,  and  no 
man's  else,  as  we  trust  Lee  hath  long  sithence  writ 
unto  your  lordship;  and  we  have  also  his  letters  to 
testify  the  same,  if  need  require,  whereby  it  shall 
plainly  appear,  if  Mr.  Mershe  have  not  likewise 
reported  accordingly,  that  he  hath  greatly  abused 
us.  As  for  Parker,  be  it  spoken  under  correction, 
my  lord,  it  was  the  opinion  which  Storey  had  of  his 
simplicity,  and  not  his  own  policy,  that  so  deceived 
and  allured  him  into  those  dangers;  which  thing 
Storey  by  this  one  point  sufficiently  declared,  in  that 
he  thought  him  not  able  to  deal  in  any  matter 
touching  his  office  without  his  presence  to  guide  and 
direct  him  ;  and  sure  I  am  your  lordship  doth  well 
perceive  him  to  be  very  incapable  of  any  such  affairs 
as  these  were.  For  our  parts,  more  assistance  than 
of  a  very  child  or  infant  we  never  had  of  him,  and 
accordingly  were  forced  from  time  to  time  to  instruct 
him  what  he  should  say  or  do  in  every  respect ;  and 
for  his  office,  if  your  lordship  make  account  what  he 
hath  lost  thereby,  surely  as  it  was  his  only  substance, 
it  is  well  known,  although  he  bore  the  name,  that  it 
was  a  matter  of  trust,  and  that  Storey  notwith 
standing  would  have  reaped  the  greatest  fruit 
thereof.  For  our  parts,  right  honourable,  besides 
that  we  lack  a  great  part  of  our  disbursed  money, 


74 


BLESSED   JOHN   STOREY 


and  the  great  charge  which  we  have  been  at  in 
following  her  Majesty's  Court  these  ten  months 
continually,  what  we  have  lost  and  are  likely  to 
lose,  if  we  should  so  amply  declare  as  our  cause 
requireth,  your  lordship  may  think  it  very  much  ; 
for  over  and  above  the  £2,300  heretofore  mentioned, 
our  liberty  and  traffic  in  those  places  hath  hitherto 
maintained  the  estate  of  mean  merchants,  whereof 
we  are  now  wholly  destitute.  And  for  mine  own 
part,  those  hopes  which  on  behalf  of  my  wife  I  am 
like  to  lose,  I  would  not  willingly  have  given  for 
1,000  marks.  Thus  humbly  beseeching  your  lord 
ship  to  weigh  our  cause  with  compassion,  for  that 
Mr.  Mershe  declaring  unto  us  so  heavy  a  message 
from  you,  the  same  is  a  double  grief  that  your 
lordship  should  wish  us  Dr.  Storey's  carcass  among 
us,  as  Mr.  Mershe  saith,  or  otherwise  to  make  some 
more  reasonable  suit.  Wherein,  my  good  lord,  as  we 
have  lost  all  that  ever  we  had  in  doing  this  service, 
so,  for  that  matter  what  we  require  tends  to  the 
Queen's  Majesty's  profit,  and  the  Commonweal,  and 
is  but  a  casualty  to  what  it  may  be  worth  to  counter 
vail  our  damages  before  mentioned  ;  yet  we  humbly 
content  ourselves  therewith,  desirous  no  further  to 
enjoy  it  than  as  the  same  be  not  prejudicial  to  the 
intercourse  and  good  policy  of  the  State.  And  now, 
if  we  be  driven  to  change  our  suit  again,  as  we  were 
once  before  for  the  matter  of  leather,  we  must  be 
driven  withal  to  beg  our  bread,  and  so  leave  to 
trouble  your  lordship  any  more.  But  behold  your 
lordship  as  our  good  patron,  whose  goodness  it  is  to 
consider  how  extremely  we  be  forced,  whilst  that  we 


BLESSED  JOHN   STOREY  75 

must  trouble  you  with  so  many  words.  But  we 
beseech  you  of  pardon  and  some  end,  whatsoever  it 
be.  For  these  five  months  the  Earl  of  Leicester 
hath  promised  us  good  despatch  ;  and  so  we  be  put 
off  to  our  greater  destruction,  fed  only  with  hopes, 
and  lastly  are  further  now  from  any  relief  at  all. 
Praying  God  to  move  his  heart,  and  to  preserve 
your  good  lordship  in  all  felicity,  your  honour's 
orator, 

"  ROGER  RAMSDEN." 

But  we  must  return  to  the  Blessed  Martyr  whom 
we  left  in  prison  in  the  Tower.  On  the  ijth  of 
December,  1570,  Don  Guerau  wrote  to  King 
Philip : 

"  Dr.  Storey  has  been  lodged  in  the  Tower  and 
confronted  with  the  man  who  brought  him.  He  is 
accused  of  having  plotted  with  the  Duke  of  Alva. 
They  are  putting  him  to  the  torture  to-day,  and  I 
expect  it  will  go  badly  with  him.  God  help  him. 
All  the  Catholics  pray  for  him."  ] 

On  the  2nd  of  March,  1570-1,  he  wrote  again  : 
"  Your  Majesty  will  see  by  the  letters  from  Dr. 
Storey  to  me  how  he  is  suffering  in  the  Tower.2 

Our  knowledge  of  the  martyr's  doings  and 
sufferings  from  this  point  rests  wholly  on  the 
evidence  of  extremely  hostile  writers.  It  is  well 
to  call  attention  to  the  fact  before  proceeding 
further. 

"  He  bore  his  fate  with  considerable  stoicism," 

1  Spanish  Calendar,  p.  288. 
2  Ibid.  p.  296.  These  letters  are  unfortunately  not  forthcoming. 


76  BLESSED   JOHN   STOREY 

writes  Froude,  "  but  his  firmness  failed  him  in  the 
terrible  ordeal  which  followed.  He  was  examined 
in  his  cell  under  the  rack  as  Felton  had  been.  The 
Catholics  prayed  that  God  would  support  him  under 
it,  but  he  was  seventy  years  old  and  feeble  for  his 
age,  and  his  dark  secrets  were  wrung  from  him  by 
his  agony."1 

We  shall  hear  more  of  these  "  dark  secrets  "  later 
on.  As  a  matter  of  fact,  his  long  imprisonment 
and  frequent  torturings  before  his  trial  are  to  be 
accounted  for  by  the  difficulty  which  Cecil  and 
Leicester  had  to  trump  up  some  charge  of  treason 
against  him  by  which  he  might  legally  be  put  to 
death,  for  it  was  clear  that  they  could  not  make 
his  having  been  ecclesiastical  commissioner  under 
Queen  Mary  or  his  speech  in  the  House  of  Commons 
treason,  although  they  were  the  real  cause  of  his 
execution.  It  was  not  till  Easter,  1571,  that  they 
concocted  an  indictment  against  him.  He  had 
been  on  friendly  terms  with  the  Nortons  and  other 
refugees,  actors  in  the  Northern  Rising,  who  had 
been  indicted  for  treason.  He  was  therefore  indicted 
for  comforting  traitors,  and  one  of  the  particular 
charges  against  him  was,  that  "he  came  one  day 
to  Parker's  house  at  Antwerp ;  where  sitting  at 
dinner,  the  elder  Norton  and  some  other  of  his 
company  came  in  from  the  church,  and  one  said, 
'  This  is  Norton ;  '  and  thereupon  Storey  rose  and 
gave  him  place  and  bid  him  welcome,  and  so  the 
elder  Norton  sat  down  in  Storey's  place." 

The  indictment  against  him  is  still  extant,2  and 
1  History  of  England,  ix.  p.  312.  2  R.O.  Domestic,  Elizabeth,  Ixxvii.  64. 


BLESSED   JOHN   STOREY  77 

it  shows  how  false  were  the  virulent  and  spiteful 
attacks  made  by  the  authors  of  two  tracts  which 
were  published  against  him  after  his  death,  and  to 
which  we  shall  have  to  refer  later  on. 

After  reciting  the  indictment  against  the  Nortons 
and  others  for  their  share  in  the  Northern  Rising, 
and  that  the  said  Richard  Norton  and  the  rest 
traitorously  fled  to  Antwerp,  it  goes  on  to  present : 

"That  John  Storey,  of  London,  doctor  of  laws; 
William  Parker,  of  London,  draper;  and  John 
Prestall,  of  London,  gentleman,  feloniously  and 
traitorously  conspired,  compassed  and  imagined  the 
death  of  the  Queen,  and  her  deprivation  ;  and  well 
knowing  that  Richard  Norton  and  the  rest  had 
committed,  done,  and  perpetrated  divers  treasons 
and  rebellions  in  England,  did  feloniously  and 
traitorously,  at  Antwerp  and  divers  other  places, 
comfort,  receive,  entertain,  and  assist  the  said 
Richard  Norton  and  the  rest  against  their  allegiance, 
&c.,  and  against  the  peace,  &c.,  and  against  the 
statute  in  that  place  made  and  provided." 

"  He  was  brought  to  Westminster  Hall  on  May 
the  26th,1  before  the  judges  of  the  Queen's  Bench 
and  arraigned.  He  refused  to  plead,  saying  '  that 
he  was  not  an  English  subject,  that  men  were  not 
born  slaves  but  freemen  ;  that  kings  were  made  for 
the  people,  and  not  the  people  for  their  kings  ;  that 
the  doctrine  of  natural  allegiance  was  tyrannical 

1  So  Simpson.  The  Spanish  Ambassador,  however,  says  May  27, 
and  Sander  May  25.  The  trial  may  have  lasted  more  than  one  day. 


BLESSED   JOHN    STOREY 


and  unjust,  for  that  as  men  were  born  free  they  had 
a  right  to  choose  their  own  country,  and  could  owe 
no  allegiance  before  they  had  sworn  allegiance/ 
He  acknowledged  however  that  he  was  born  in 
England.  'Then,'  said  they,  'it  follows  you  are  a 
subject  to  the  Queen  and  laws  of  the  realm.'  But 
he  said  that  he  had  not  been  the  Queen's  subject 
for  the  last  seven  years,  having  been  naturalized  a 
Spaniard,  and  was  the  subject  of  the  most  Catholic 
and  mighty  Prince,  Philip  of  Spain.  He  added  that 
God  commanded  Abraham  to  go  forth  from  the 
land  and  country  where  he  was  born,  from  his 
friends  and  kinsfolk  unto  another  country ;  and  so 
he  followed  his  example,  for  conscience'  sake  in 
religion,  did  forsake  his  country  and  the  laws  of  the 
realm,  and  the  prince,  and  had  given  himself  up  to 
the  service  of  another  governor.  Abraham  had  been 
commanded  to  do  this,  to  escape  being  involved  in 
the  sin  of  idolatry  in  which  Chaldsea  was  then 
plunged,  and  he  to  escape  the  sin  of  heresy  and 
schism.1  Perceiving  that  they  were  about  to  give 
judgrrient  against  him,  he  said  they  had  no  law  to 

1  "Quite  right  too,  Dr.  Storey,"  breaks  out  Mr.  Simpson; 
"  you  Elizabethan  Catholics  are  much  too  advanced  in  your  notions 
of  the  rights  of  man,  .  .  .  now  we  have  to  defend  you  for  the 
abominable  doctrine  that  a  man  is  not  delivered  over  bound  hand 
and  foot,  or  rather  body  and  soul,  into  the  hands  of  any  ogre  who 
may  happen  to  be  sitting  on  the  throne,  simply  because  the  poor 
man  was  born  within  the  fortunate  dominions  of  the  ogre  aforesaid. 
You  really  do  hold  that  a  civilized  man  who  has  the  misfortune  to 
be  born  of  civilized  parents  within  the  territories  of  Mumbo-Jumbo 
or  Nangaro,  may,  if  he  chooses,  migrate  to  another  realm,  and 
transfer  his  allegiance  to  a  more  sympathetic  sovereign  !  Fatal 
error,"  &c.,  &c. 


BLESSED   JOHN   STOREY  79 

do  so ;  then  turning  to  the  people,  he  said  :  '  Good 
people,  I  trust  ye  see  how  violently  I  am  used,  and 
how  unjustly  and  contrary  to  all  justice  and  equity 
they  use  me.'  And  he  added  '  that  he  had  good 
hope  that  he  was  not  destitute  of  some  friends  there 
who  would  give  notice  to  the  most  Catholic  Prince, 
his  master,  how  cruelly  they  dealt  with  him.  One 
of  them  said  to  him  :  '  Master  Storey,  because  you 
think  it  violence  that  is  shown  to  you  instead  of 
law  and  justice,  you  shall  know  that  we  do  nothing 
but  what  we  may  do  by  law  and  equity.'  Then 
one  of  the  judges  said,  'This  is  Scarborough's 
case.'  '  Nay,'  answered  the  martyr,  '  my  case  is  not 
Scarborough's  case  ;  but  indeed  I  had  Scarborough's 
warning1  to  come  to  this  arraign,  for  I  knew  nothing 
of  it  till  seven  o'clock  this  morning.'  Then  there 
was  a  book  delivered  unto  him  to  read  wherein  he 
might  see  what  they  might  do  by  law ;  and  after 
he  had  read  it,  the  Judge  demanded  of  him  'how 
he  liked  it  ?  '  Storey  answered  :  '  God  have  mercy 
upon  me.'  Then  the  Lord  Chief  Justice  gave  him 
judgment  to  be  drawn,  hanged  and  quartered  ;  and 
so  he  was  again  sent  unto  the  Tower." 


1  "  First  knocking  a  man  down  and  then  bidding  him  stand," 
an  old  proverb  called  by  the  common  people  in  those  days 
"Scarborough's  Warning."  (Simpson.)  The  account  of  the  trial 
as  also  that  of  the  execution  and  last  speech  is  taken  from  one  of 
the  tracts  already  mentioned,  which  is  virulently  hostile  in  tone, 
The  Declaration  of  the  Life  and  Death  of  John  Storey.  The  other  is 
entitled,  A  copy  of  a  Letter  lately  sent  by  a  Gentleman,  Student  in  the 
Lawes,  to  a  Friende  of  his,  concerting  D.  Storie,  a  black-lettej  pamphlet 
published  after  the  martyr's  death  and  purporting  to  contain  his 
confessions.  Reprinted  in  Harleian  Miscellany,  viii.  pp.  608—613. 


So  BLESSED   JOHN   STOREY 


It  has  been  said  by  the  King  of  Martyrs  that 
"except  a  grain  of  wheat  fall  into  the  ground  and 
die,  it  abideth  alone,  but  if  it  die,  it  bringeth  forth 
much  fruit."  And  so  it  was  in  the  case  of  Blessed 
John  Storey.  There  was  one  present  at  the  trial 
who  was  wavering  as  to  whether  he  should  follow 
the  divine  call.  But  the  cruelty  and  injustice 
there  displayed  decided  him,  and  Blessed  Edmund 
Campion,  for  it  was  no  other  than  he,  was  convinced 
by  what  he  saw  and  heard  that  England  was  no 
place  for  him.  He  was  "  animated  to  offer  himself 
by  this  blessed  man's  example,"  writes  Father 
Persons,1  "to  any  danger  and  peril  for  the  same 
Faith  for  which  the  Doctor  died."  And  so  he  went 
abroad,  not  indeed  to  escape  from  like  dangers,  but 
to  prepare  to  meet  them,  and  presented  himself 
to  Dr.  Allen  at  Douay.  Later  on,  when  he  returned 
on  that  short  but  triumphal  mission  of  his,  he  was 
wont  to  salute  bareheaded  the  sacred  tree  of  Tyburn 
consecrated  by  the  old  martyr's  blood,  and  fervently 
to  pray  beneath  it  for  a  like  glorious  crown. 

Having  thus  been  seized  in  a  foreign  land  by 
craft  and  violence,  and  condemned  in  a  country 
that  he  had  never  meant  to  enter  again,  the  martyr 
was  taken  back  to  the  Tower. 

On  his  way  there  he  was  insulted  by  the  rabble 
who  scoffed  and  jeered  at  him.  "As  he  went  by 
the  way,  certain  persons  in  several  places  met  with 
him,  and  one  said,  'O  Storey,  Storey!  thou  art  a 
strange  story !  remember  Master  Bradford  that 
godly  man  ;  his  blood  asketh  vengeance  on  thee, 

1  Life  of  Campion,  p.  7. 


BLESSED   JOHN  STOREY  81 

Storey;  repent  in  time.'  .  .  .  Another  cried  unto 
him  and  said,  '  Blessed  be  God,  Storey,  who  hath 
made  thee  partaker  of  such  bread  as  thou  wast  wont 
to  deal  to  the  innocent  members  of  Jesus  Christ.' 
Another  also  cried  out  on  him  and  said,  '  Storey, 
Storey,  the  abominable  cup  of  fornication  and 
rilthiness,  that  thou  hast  given  others  to  drink  be 
heaped  up  topful,  that  thy  plagues  may  be  greater 
at  the  terrible  day  of  God's  wrath  and  vengeance, 
unless  thou  ask  mercy  for  thy  filthy,  corrupt,  and 
stinking  life.'  And  yet  another  cried  out  unto  him 
and  said  :  '  I  pray  God  that  thy  heart  be  not 
hardened  as  was  Pharaoh's,  and  made  harder  than 
the  adamant  stone  or  the  steel ;  that  when  he  would 
he  could  not  repent  and  call  for  grace.'  And  among 
the  rest,  one  came  to  him  at  London-stone  and 
saluted  him  with  this  metre,  saying  : 

Master  doctor  Story 

For  you  they  are  quite  sorry, 

The  Court  of  Lovaine  and  Rome : 

Your  holy  father  the  pope 

Cannot  save  you  from  rope, 

The  hangman  must  have  your  gown. 

And  to  all  these  outrages  '  he  answered  never  a 
word.'  "* 

The  martyr  was  confined  in  the  Beauchamp 
Tower,2  in  the  large  room  on  the  first  floor,  on  the 
walls  of  which  he  has  left  a  precious  relic  of  his 
imprisonment.  The  inscription 

I57O  :  IRON  •  STORE  •  DOCTOR. 

1  The  Declaration. 
-  We  presume  that  the  inscription  retains  its  original  site. 

G  II. 


82  BLESSED   JOHN   STOREY 

no  doubt  cut  with   his  own  hand,  can  still  be  seen 
on  the  left  hand  of  the  chimney. 

While  in  the  Tower  he  was  several  times  offered 
the  Oath  of  Supremacy,  which  he  steadily  refused  to 
take.1 

Two   days   after  his  condemnation    he   wrote   a 

letter  to  his  wife  at   Louvain.      He  complained   of 

the  injustice  of  his  condemnation.     It  would  have 

been  easy  for  him,   he  wrote,   to   have  refuted  the 

charge  of  treason,  if  the  case  had  been  tried  before 

other  judges.      And    he   cited    as   witnesses   of  his 

innocence  those  very  men  with  whom  he  was  said 

to  have  conspired  at  Antwerp.     But  his  conscience 

would  not  allow  him  to  act  otherwise  than  he  had 

done.     He  could  not  plead  as  if  he  acknowledged 

an    excommunicated    Queen,    and    especially   could 

not,    according    to    his    conscience,    acknowledge 

the  jurisdiction  of  any  judge  appointed  by  one  so 

excommunicated,  for  fear  of  himself  being  involved 

in    the   same    condemnation.      In   order,  therefore, 

to  save  his  own  conscience,  and  that  he  might  die 

in   the    communion    of   Holy   Church,   he    did    not 

hesitate  to  shed  his  blood.     He  therefore  not  only 

returned  thanks  to  God  that  he  was  thought  worthy 

to  die  for  so  good  a  cause,  but  believed  that  his  wife 

and  all  his  friends  would   congratulate  him,  if  they 

really    knew    with     what     eagerness     he    prepared 

himself  for  that  death,  by  which  in  so  short  a  time 

he  would  expiate  the  faults  of  a  life  of  nearly  seventy 

years.2 

1  Wood,  A  then.  Oxon.  i.  388. 

2  Sander,    Concertatio,  if.   446,   45  A.      We   have   only    Sander's 
resume  of  this  letter. 


BLESSED   JOHN   STOREY  83 


The  fanatical  preachers  who  had  hitherto  annoyed 
him  with  their  importunities  now  left  him,  and  on 
the  evening  before  his  execution  the  Lieutenant  of 
the  Tower  asked  him  if  he  would  like  any  minister 
of  God  to  attend  him.  He  said  he  would  be  most 
grateful  for  the  assistance  of  a  Catholic  priest,  but 
he  would  have  nothing  to  do  with  any  heretic  or 
schismatic.  The  Lieutenant,  upon  this,  gave  leave 
that  his  old  friend,  the  learned  and  saintly  Dr. 
Feckenham,  Abbot  of  Westminster,  himself  a  con 
fessor  in  chains  for  the  Catholic  faith,  should  attend 
him.  This  was  almost  the  last  time  that  such  a 
favour  was  granted.  The  Abbot  remained  with  him 
all  night,  and  we  know  from  the  martyr's  own 
testimony,  how  great  was  the  spiritual  comfort 
which  he  derived  from  the  good  old  man.  The  fear 
of  death  was  taken  away  and  his  soul  was  flooded 
with  supernatural  joy. 

Meanwhile,  it  will  be  asked,  what  were  his 
powerful  friends  doing  ?  What  efforts  were  being 
made  to  save  him  by  the  great  King  whose  liege 
subject  he  had  claimed  to  be  ?  If  Blessed  John 
Storey  had  ever  been  tempted  to  put  his  trust  in 
princes,  he  knew  now  how  true  was  the  Psalmist's 
warning  that  there  was  "  no  help  in  them." 

It  is  true  that  some  feeble  efforts  had  been  made 
by  the  Spanish  Ambassador  and  the  Duke  of  Alva 
on  his  behalf,  but  Philip  II.  could  not  afford  just 
then  to  quarrel  with  Elizabeth,  and  so  to  throw  her 
into  the  arms  of  France,  even  to  save  Dr.  Storey 
from  his  cruel  fate. 

"  If  Alva  and   Philip  endured  this,  the  Catholics 


84  BLESSED   JOHN  STOREY 

in  England  might  well  despair  of  help  from  them, 
and  Elizabeth  might  lay  aside  her  fears.  Here  was 
a  man  living  under  the  King  of  Spain's  protection, 
in  the  employ  of  the  Government,  and  seized  and 
carried  off,  as  it  were,  under  Alva's  eyes.  Yet 
Alva  contented  himself  with  a  mild  remonstrance 
to  the  English  Minister.  *  The  proceeding  appeared 
strange  to  him,'  he  said,  'the  Queen  of  England 
should  remember  that  it  would  discontent  her  to 
have  the  like  done  in  her  countries  ;  it  was  the 
King's  pleasure,  however,  to  bear  with  her  in  a 
matter  which  he  would  not  have  suffered  at  another 
prince's  hand.'  The  English  Catholics  little  expected 
such  an  answer."1 

Nor  indeed  did  the  Spanish  Ambassador.  On 
the  27th  of  May,  1571,  he  wrote  to  the  King : 
"  Your  Majesty  will  have  learned  that  I  addressed 
this  Council  from  the  Duke  of  Alva,  in  order  to 
attempt  to  procure  the  release  of  Dr.  Storey.2  I  now 
hear  that  they  took  him  to-day  to  be  tried  at 
Westminster,  and  that  they  have  condemned  him 
to  death  in  the  usual  way.  I  will  say  no  more  about 
it,  as  I  have  no  fresh  instructions  to  do  so."  .  .  . 
He  adds,  in  a  postscript  :  "  I  had  written  thus  far 
when  I  decided  to  convey  to  the  Council  the  enclosed 
remonstrance.  Cecil  replied  that  an  answer  should 
be  sent  after  the  Queen  and  Council  had  been 

J  Froude,  History  of  England,  ix.  p.  313. 

2  This  was  on  April  16.  The  Ambassador,  through  his 
secretary,  John  Cipres,  required  the  punishment  of  Storey's 
abductors,  and  complained  of  the  encouragement  given  to  the  rebels 
.and  pirates  of  the  Low  Countries  in  England.  (Foreign  Calendar, 


BLESSED   JOHN   STOREY  85 

consulted,  as  had  been  done  previously,  but  he 
was  much  surprised  that  the  Duke  and  I  should 
intercede  for  an  Englishman."1  The  Ambassador 
had  demanded  that  Storey  should  be  returned  to 
Flanders.  When  the  answer  came  it  was  character 
istically  insolent.  Elizabeth  sent  a  message  that 
she  would  keep  the  body  of  the  condemned  man, 
but  would  be  quite  willing  to  send  his  head  to  the 
King  of  Spain.'2 

We  now  approach  the  final  tragedy.  The  execu 
tion  took  place  on  the  ist  of  June,  1571.  It  was 
carried  out,  says  Pollard,  "with  horrible  cruelty."3 
Some  of  the  details  of  the  martyr's  sufferings  are 
indeed  too  abominable  to  describe  in  these  days, 
they  will  be  found  in  Antony  a  Wood  and  other 
writers.  It  had  evidently  been  determined  by  the 
old  martyr's  relentless  foes  that  he  should  be  spared 
no  detail  of  extremest  ignominy  and  horror.  We 
give  the  account  furnished  us  by  the  contemporary 
pamphleteer,4  who  was  evidently  present  at  the 
martyrdom.  Though  so  bitterly  hostile  a  witness, 
his  account  seems  trustworthy,  and  indeed  his  bias 
against  the  victim  makes  his  testimony  doubly 
precious. 

"  The  first  day  of  June,  the  said  Mr.  Storey  was 
drawn  upon  a  hurdle  from  the  Tower  of  London 
unto  Tyburn ;  where  was  prepared  for  him  a  new 
pair  of  gallows,  made  in  triangular  manner.  And 
by  the  way,  as  he  went,  many  people  spoke  unto 

1  Spanish  Calendar,  1571,  p.  313.        2  Relations  Politiques,  vi.  p.  ii. 
:J  Dictionary  of  National  Biography.         4  The  Declaration. 


86  BLESSED   JOHN   STOREY 

him,  and  called  unto  him  to  repent  of  his  tyranny 
and  wickedness ;  and  willed  him  to  call  upon  God 
for  mercy ;  but  he  lay  as  though  he  had  been  asleep, 
and  would  not  speak  to  any  person.  And  when  he 
was  taken  from  the  hurdle,  and  set  in  a  cart,  he 
made  there  a  solemn  protestation  and  said  : 

"  I  am  come  hither  to  die,  and  truly  if  this  death 
were  ten  times  more  fierce  and  sharp  than  it  is,  I 
have  deserved  it.  I  have  lived  the  space  of  three 
score  and  seven  years,  and  now  my  body  must  abide 
this  temporal  pain  and  punishment,  provided  for 
me  here  in  this  life,  by  means  whereof  my  days 
shall  be  cut  off.  But,  where  at  the  first  I  stood  in 
fear  of  death,  I  thank  God,  this  night  past  I  have 
been  so  comforted  with  God  and  godly  men,  that 
the  fear  of  death  is  taken  from  my  sight.  And  now 
I  appeal  to  God  the  Father,  trusting  in  the  Passion 
of  His  Son  Jesus  Christ,  and  hoping  by  the  shedding 
of  His  Blood  only  to  be  saved.  And  although  a  long 
time  I  could  not  apply  the  virtue  of  His  Passion 
and  Death  to  the  use  and  benefit  of  my  soul,  because 
of  my  long  hovering  in  fear ;  yet  now,  I  thank  God, 
I  know  how  to  apply  this  medicine ;  as  for  example, 
an  apothecary  may  have  a  medicine  in  his  shop 
seven  years,  that  may  help  a  sick  or  diseased  man, 
by  the  counsel  of  a  physician,  but  if  this  medicine 
be  not  applied  to  the  patient  but  still  remaineth  in 
the  apothecary's  shop,  it  profiteth  nothing — no 
more  could  the  benefit  of  Christ's  death  help  me, 
because,  although  I  knew  the  medicine  good,  I  did 
not  apply  it  unto  my  soul's  health  :  but  now  it  hath 
pleased  Almighty  God  to  call  me  to  account  of  my 


BLESSED   JOHN   STOREY  87 

sixty-seven  years,  which  now  must  have  an  end,  and 
this  corrupt  body  must  feel  a  temporal  punishment, 
for  my  sins  have  deserved  it  (as  I  said  before).  I  am 
now  come  to  a  proof  of  this  medicine.  David, 
when  he  had  committed  adultery  with  Bathsheba, 
the  wife  of  Uriah  (whose  husband  also  he  caused 
to  be  put  into  the  front  of  the  battle,  and  so  was 
murdered)  ;  he  for  that  trespass  felt  a  temporal 
punishment,  by  the  loss  of  his  son,  whom  he  loved 
tenderly.  Also,  when  he  numbered  his  people,  he 
greatly  displeased  God ;  and  for  his  offence  and 
transgression  he  felt  a  temporal  pain  ;  and  choice 
was  given  unto  him  from  above,  to  choose  one 
of  these  three  temporal  and  bodily  punishments  ; 
that  is  to  say :  three  days'  pestilence  ;  the  sword, 
that  is  to  say  :  bloody  battle  seven  years  ;  or  famine 
seven  years.  And  he  thought  to  choose  the  least, 
and  he  chose  three  days'  pestilence  ;  but  this  scourge 
took  away  an  infinite  number  of  his  subjects.  So 
now  as  my  sins  deserve  a  temporal  pain,  which  here 
have  an  end,  even  in  this  flesh  ;  I  am  of  the  same 
mind  that  the  prophet  David  was:  and  with  him  I 
agree  saying,  Invoco  te,  Domine,  &c.  '  Lord,  I  call 
upon  Thee  in  this  day  of  my  trouble.  Hear  me, 
O  Lord,  out  of  Thy  dwelling-place,'  &c. 

"But  now  to  speak  a  little  of  my  arraignment : 
when  I  was  at  Westminster,  I  alleged  in  my  plea 
that  I  was  no  subject  of  this  realm  ;  as  I  did  like 
wise  before  the  Queen's  commissioners,  Sir  Thomas 
Wrath,  Mr.  Thomas  \Vilbraham,  late  Recorder  of  the 
City  of  London,  Mr.  Peter  Osborne,  Mr.  Marshe,  and 


88  BLESSED   JOHN   STOREY 


Mr.  Dr.  Watts;  where  the  Recorder  of  London  made 
a  like  demand  as  was  demanded  of  me  at  West 
minster  ;  and  that  was,  whether  I  was  born  in 
England  or  no  ?  Whereunto  I  answered,  '  I  was.' 
'  Then,'  said  he,  '  it  followeth  that  you  are  and  ought 
to  continue  the  Queen's  faithful  subject.'  Where 
unto  I  replied  then,  as  I  do  now,  saying :  '  I  am 
sworn  to  the  noble  King,  defender  of  the  ancient 
Catholic  Faith,  King  Philip  of  Spain,  and  he  is 
sworn  again  by  a  solemn  and  corporal  oath,  to 
maintain  and  defend  the  University  of  Louvain, 
whereof  I  am  a  member ;  and  therefore  no  subject 
of  this  realm,  nor  yet  subject  to  any  laws  thereof. 
For  it  is  well  known  that  I  departed  this  realm 
being  freely  licensed  thereunto  by  the  Queen,  who 
accounted  me  an  abject  and  castaway;  and  I  came 
not  hither  again  of  my  own  accord,  but  I  was 
betrayed. 

"  And  although  I  had  an  inkling  given  rne  before 
of  such  a  thing  pretended  towards  me,  yet  I  could 
not  shun  or  escape  it :  for  sure  it  was  God  who 
made  dim  my  understanding  and  blinded  mine 
eyes,  so  that  I  could  not  perceive  it.  But  Holy 
Writ  commandeth  me  to  love  my  enemies,  and 
here  I  forgive  them  freely  with  all  my  heart ; 
beseeching  God  that  they  take  no  harm  for  me  in 
another  country.  I  would  be  right  sorry  they  should, 
although  they  betrayed  me.  I  travelled  with  them 
from  ship  to  ship,  by  the  space  of  eight  days,  and 
mistrusted  no  peril  to  be  at  hand,  until  I  was 
clapped  fast  under  the  hatches.  But  sure,  sure  it 
was  God  that  wrought  it  ;  yea,  and  although  I 


BLESSED   JOHN   STOREY  89 

was  accounted  a  poller  of  the  Englishmen  of  your 
country,  I  stand  now  here  before  God,  and  by 
the  death  I  shall  die,  I  had  never  out  of  any  ship 
more  than  two  pieces  of  gold,  and  forty  dollars 
that  were  laid  in  my  hand. 

"  But  once  again  to  my  arraignment.  Where 
there  were  certain  letters  laid  to  my  charge, 
wherein  I  should  go  about  to  provoke  the  Xortons, 
the  Nevilles,  and  others  to  rebel ;  I  never  meant 
it :  yet  will  I  discharge  my  conscience  freely  and 
frankly,  and  tell  you  truth.  There  was  a  com 
mission  for  a  like  matter  sent  into  Scotland,  which 
I  wrote  with  mine  own  hand  :  but  it  contained 
a  proviso,  wherein  the  Queen  of  England  and  her 
dominions  were  excepted. 

"  There  are  yet  two  things  that  I  purpose  to  talk 
of;  namely,  for  that  there  are  here  present  a  great 
number  of  youth ;  and  I  would  to  God  I  might 
say  or  speak  that  which  might  bring  all  men  to  the 
unity  of  the  Church  ;  for  there  is  but  one  Church, 
one  Flock,  and  one  Shepherd  ;  if  I  could  this  do  I 
would  think  myself  to  have  wrought  a  good  work. 

"  The  first  point  toucheth  my  cruelty,  wherewith 
I  am  sore  burdened,  and  the  second  concerneth  my 
religion.  As  touching  the  first ;  there  were  three 
in  commission  of  the  which  I  was  one  who  might 
do  least,  for  I  was  the  last  of  the  three.  And 
though  I  might,  by  persuasion,  essay  to  cause  them 
to  revoke  the  Articles,  which  they  had  maintained, 
and  to  confess  the  presence  wherein  I  stand ;  ye 
know  that  he  who  chideth  is  not  worthy  to  be 
condemned  for  fighting  ;  no  more  am  I  worthy  to 


BLESSED   JOHN   STOREY 


be  counted  cruel  for  chiding.  It  was  the  Bishop 
that  pronounced  the  sentence  (Excommunicamus) 
and  against  that  I  could  not  do,  for  I  was  one  of 
the  laity.  Yet  often  -times  the  Bishop,  to  whom 
I  was  a  servant,  was  bold  with  me,  when  he  had 
so  many  prisoners  that  he  could  not  well  bestow 
them.  For  at  one  time  the  Lord  Riche  sent  him 
out  of  Essex  28,  and  at  another  time  16  and  14, 
and  some  of  them  were  sent  to  me,  whom  I  kept 
in  my  house  with  such  fare  as  I  had  provided  for 
myself  and  my  family  at  my  own  cost  and  charge. 
And  to  prove  that  I  was  not  so  cruel  as  I  am 
reported  to  be,  let  this  one  tale  suffice  :  there  were 
at  one  time  28  condemned  to  the  fire,  and  I  moved 
the  dean  of  Paul's  to  tender  their  estate,  who 
after  was  Abbot  of  Westminster,  a  very  pitiful- 
minded  man.  I  think  the  most  part  of  you  know  him, 
it  is  Mr.  Fecknam,  and  we  went  up  and  persuaded 
with  them,  and  we  found  them  very  tractable  ;  and 
Mr.  Fecknam  and  I  laboured  to  the  Lord  Cardinal 
Poole,  showing  they  were  nescientes  quid  fecerunt. 
The  Cardinal  and  we  did  sue  together  to  the 
Queen,  and  laid  both  'the  swords  together,  and  so 
we  obtained  pardon  for  them  all,  saving  an  old 
woman  that  dwelt  about  Paul's  Churchyard  ;  she 
would  not  convert  and  therefore  she  was  burned. 
The  rest  of  them  received  absolution  and  that  with 
all  reverence.  Search  the  Register  and  you  shall 
find  it.  Yea,  and  it  was  my  procurement  that 
there  should  be  no  more  burnt  in  London  ;  for 
I  saw  well  that  it  would  not  prevail,  and  therefore 
we  sent  them  into  odd  corners,  into  the  country. 


BLESSED  JOHN   STOREY  91 

"  Wherefore,  I  pray  you,  name  me  not  cruel ;  I 
would  be  loth  to  have  any  such  slander  to  run  on 
me  ;  but  sith  I  die  in  charity,  I  pray  you  all  of 
charity  to  pray  for  me,  that  God  may  strengthen 
me  with  patience  to  suffer  my  death,  to  the  which 
I  yield  most  willingly. 

"And  here  I  make  a  petition  to  you  my  friends, 
who  would  have  bestowed  anything  on  me  ;  I 
beseech  you,  for  charity  sake,  bestow  it  yearly  on 
my  wife,  who  hath  four  small  children,  and  God 
hath  now  taken  me  away  that  was  her  staff  and 
stay ;  and  now  my  daughter  Weston  and  her  three 
children  are  gone  over  unto  her,  and  I  know  not  how 
they  shall  do  for  food,  unless  they  go  a  begging 
from  door  to  door  for  it;  although,  indeed,  no  English 
persons  do  beg  but  of  English,  being  helped  by  the 
Lady  Dormer  and  Sir  Francis  (Englefield). 

"  I  have  good  hope  that  you  will  be  good  unto 
her,  for  she  is  the  faithfullest  wife,  the  lovingest 
and  constantest  that  ever  man  had  ;  and  twice  we 
have  lost  all  that  ever  we  had,  and  now  she  hath 
lost  me  to  her  great  grief,  I  know. 

"  The  second  point  that  I  thought  to  speak  of 
is  concerning  my  religion,  for  that  I  know  many 
are  desirous  to  know  what  faith  I  will  die  in  ;  the 
which  I  will  briefly  touch.  I  say  with  St.  Jerome, 
that  ancient  father  and  pillar  of  the  old  ancient, 
Catholic  and  Apostolic  Church,  grounded  upon  the 
Patriarchs,  Prophets,  and  Apostles,  that  in  the  same 
faith  that  I  was  born  in,  I  purpose  to  die  in.  And 
as  the  ark  that  Noe  and  his  family  did  possess, 
figured  the  ship  of  Christ's  Church,  out  of  which 


BLESSED   JOHN  STOREY 


ship  whosoever  is,  cannot  be  saved,  in  that  ship 
am  I.  ...  A  ship  that  is  tossed  on  the  floods  is 
often  in  danger  of  loss  on  the  sands,  and  sometimes 
on  the  rocks ;  but  when  the  men  who  are  in  the 
ship  espy  present  peril  at  hand,  there  is  a  cockboat 
at  the  tail  of  the  ship,  whereunto  they  fly  for 
succour;  so  likewise  I,  being  in  the  ship  of  Christ, 
once  fell  out  of  the  same  ship,  and  was  in  present 
peril  and  great  danger  :  but  then  I,  following  the 
example  of  a  good  mariner,  took  the  cockboat, 
thinking  to  drive  to  land  ;  and  at  the  last,  being  in 
the  boat,  I  espied  three  oars,  that  is,  to  wit,  contri 
tion,  confession,  and  absolution ;  and  I  held  all 
these  fast,  and  ever  since  then  I  have  continued  in 
the  ship  of  Christ,  of  which  the  Apostle  Peter  is 
the  guide  and  principal,  and  in  the  faith  Catholic  of 
my  King  I  die. 

"  Then  said  the  Earl  of  Bedford :  '  Are  you 
not  the  Queen's  subject  ?  '  ;  No,'  said  Storey,  '  and 
yet  I  do  not  exclude  the  Queen,  but  I  pray  for  her, 
her  Council,  and  the  nobility  of  this  realm  long 
to  continue/  Then  said  the  Lord  Hunsdon  :  '  Are 
you  not  the  Queen's  subject  ?  You  were  born  in 
England  ? '  Then  said  Storey :  '  Every  man  is 
freeborn,  and  he  hath  the  whole  face  of  the  earth 
before  him  to  dwell  and  abide  in,  where  he  liketh 
best  ;  and  if  he  cannot  live  here,  he  may  go 
elsewhere.'  Then  was  there  (as  I  think)  one  of  the 
ministers  hearing  him  to  make  so  light  of  our  noble 
Queen  and  country,  demanded  of  him  whether  she 
were  not  next  and  immediately  under  God  Supreme 
Head  of  the  Churches  of  England  and  Ireland  ? 


BLESSED   JOHN  STOREY  IJ3 


Whereunto  he  answered,  '  I  come  not  hither  to 
dispute,  but  if  she  be,  she  is.  My  nay  will  not 
prevail  to  prove  it  otherwise.'  And  then  they  cried, 
'Away  with  the  cart!'  And  so  he  was  hanged 
according  to  his  judgment." 

The  Elizabethan  libeller  prudently  stops  here. 
The  horrible  scene  that  followed  was  little  calcu 
lated  to  display  to  advantage  his  "noble  Oueen  and 
country." 

'  The  execution,"  says  Simpson,  "  was  con 
ducted  with  more  atrocious  cruelty  than  was  usual 
even  in  those  most  barbarous  times.  Lords  Burleigh 
and  Hunsdon,  the  Earl  of  Bedford,  and  another  earl, 
whom  we  may  not  uncharitably  suppose  to  have 
been  Leicester,  came  to  gloat  over  the  dying 
moments  of  the  man  they  both  hated  and  feared  in 
Queen  Mary's  days  and  detested  still.  Dr.  Fulke, 
a  celebrated  Protestant  controversialist,  and  many 
others  of  the  leading  Puritans,  were  present.  He 
was  cut  down  the  instant  he  was  hanged,  in  order 
that  he  might  have  all  his  senses  about  him.  He 
was  then  stripped,  and  as  soon  as  the  executioner 
began  his  obscene  and  disgusting  function,  the 
modest  martyr  rose  and  gave  him  a  box  on  the  ear. 
He  was  however  held  down  by  three  or  four  men 
while  the  rest  of  the  cruel  butchery  was  performed." 

The  malice  of  his  enemies  did  not  cease  with 
his  death  ;  most  violent  attacks  were  made  on  his 
memory.1  Everything  which  he  did  (or  was  said 

1  Especially  in  the  two  tracts  already  mentioned.  Strype, 
Holinshed,  and  Burnet  are  very  foul-mouthed  against  him.  They 
do  but  re-echo  Foxe,  for  the  most  part. 


94 


BLESSED   JOHN  STOREY 


to  have  done)  as  a  young  man,  which  could  in  any 
way  tell  invidiously  was  brought  up  against  him  to 
blacken  his  character — nay,  the  very  cries  he  uttered 
at  the  time  of  his  martyrdom,  wrung  from  him  by 
their  own  barbarity,  were  brought  against  him  by 
way  of  reproach. 

The  notorious  Dr.  Fulke,  the  antagonist  of 
Blessed  Edmund  Campion,  thus  wrote  against 
him:1 

"  Such  as  were  manifestly  void  of  patience  can 
be  no  true  martyrs,  as  were  most  of  those  rebels 
and  traitors  ;  and  Storey,  by  name,  who  for  all  his 
glorious  tale,  in  the  time  of  his  deserved  execution 
by  quartering  was  so  impatient,  that  he  did  not 
only  cry  and  roar  like  a  hell-hound,  but  also  struck 
the  executioner  doing  his  office,  and  resisted  as  long 
as  strength  did  serve  him,  being  kept  down  by  three 
or  four  men  till  he  was  dead  ;  and  he  used  no  voice 
of  prayer  in  all  that  time  of  his  crying,  as  I  heard 
of  the  very  executioner  himself,  besides  them  that 
stood  by,  but  only  roared  and  cried,  as  one  overcome 
with  the  sharpness  of  the  pain  ;  as  no  martyr,  as  the 
Papists  did  mightily  boast  of  him." 

This  passage,  though  quoted  with  relish  by 
both  Strype  and  Bishop  Rennet,  will  disgust  most 
readers,  who  will  probably  agree  with  Mr.  Simpson, 
that  "  the  term  hell-hound  is  rather  applicable  to 
those  who  could  complacently  write  such  atrocious 
language,  and  to  those  who  could  come  and  gloat 

1  Strype,  Annals,  ii.  84,  anno  1571. 


BLESSED   JOHN  STOREY  95 


their  vengeance  over  the  sufferings  of  a  poor  dying 
man — to  Elizabeth  and  her  infamous  ministers,  and 
to  the  Protestant  Bishops  and  clergy,  who  were  con 
tinually  urging  them  on  to  still  further  atrocities." 

Strype  also  finds  pleasure  in  quoting  some 
doggerel  written  by  Lawrence  Ramsey,  a  poet  near 
about  this  time,  in  a  book  entitled  The  Practice  of 
the  Devil,  wherein  the  devil  is  brought  in,  speaking 
thus  : 

"  Stand  to  it  Stapleton,  Dorman  and  Harding, 
And  Rastal,  that  rakehell,  to  maintain  my  order: 
Bonner  and  Gardiner  are  worth  the  regarding, 
For  keeping  articles  so  long  in  this  border. 
O  Storey,  Storey,  thou  art  worth  recording : 
Thou  stood'st  to  it  stoutly  against  God  and  King, 
And  at  Tyburn  desperately  gav'st  me  an  offering."1 

i  A  modern  accuser,  Mr.  Froude,  brings  a  serious  accusation 
against  our  martyr  which  needs  fuller  consideration.  He  writes 
thus  of  Storey  :  "  Besides  the  ordinary  plots  for  invading  England, 
it  seems  that  he  had  a  scheme  on  foot  in  connection  with  one  of  the 
Hamiltons  for  a  feat  which  would  have  eclipsed  the  murder  at 
Linlithgow.  It  was  nothing  less  than  making  away  with  the  little 
King  of  Scots,  in  the  belief  that  with  his  life  would  be  removed  the 
principal  obstacle  to  his  mother's  marriage  with  some  Catholic 
prince."  In  a  note  he  adds:  "This  preposterous  piece  of  wickedness 
would  have  been  incredible  had  it  not  been  confessed  by  Storey 
himself.  The  account  of  it  was  transmitted  by  the  Spanish  Ambas 
sador  to  Philip.  Don  Guerau's  words  are  these."  He  then  quotes 
a  passage  in  Spanish  of  which  we  give  the  translation.  "  Storey 
said  that  Hamilton  told  him  that  Prestal  had  written  to  him,  that 
as  to  the  business  which  Storey  and  Hamilton  had  mentioned  to 
him,  it  could  be  done  with  [the]  Englishman]  who  was  then  in 
Ireland ;  it  could  not  be  accomplished  without  great  supply  of  money. 
And  that  secret  was  about  slaughtering  the  King  of  Scotland  ;  for 
this  Prestal  had  said  to  Hamilton  that  with  difficulty  could  the 
Scots  be  reduced  to  the  obedience  of  the  Queen,  while  she  was 
without  a  husband,  and  that  no  principal  person  would  seek  her 
as  wife  while  that  boy  lived.  But  that  if  [he]  slaughtered  him  that 


g6  BLESSED   JOHN   STOREY 


The  savage  execution  of  the  aged  martyr  caused 
a  great  sensation  among  Catholics  both  in  England 
and  on  the  Continent,  where  he  was  everywhere 
venerated  as  a  saint. 

On  the  5th  of  August,  1571,  King  Philip  wrote 
to  Don  Guerau  de  Spes :  "  The  death,  or  rather 
martyrdom,  of  Dr.  Storey  was,  I  see  by  the  state 
ment  you  send,  so  firm  and  faithful  in  the  Catholic 
religion  that  it  is  a  subject  of  gratitude  to  God  that 
He  has  still  preserved  such  men  as  this  in  England, 
since  by  means  of  them  hopes  may  be  entertained 

he  hoped  that  the  brother  of  the  Emperor  would  marry  her." 
(History  of  England,  ix.  310,  311.) 

Now  at  first  sight  this  does  look  very  black  against  Storey, 
especially  to  the  reader  who  does  not  know  Spanish,  and  therefore 
assumes  that  Froude's  quotation  confirms  his  statement.  Besides, 
it  rests  on  the  authority  of  the  Spanish  Ambassador,  who  would 
of  course  have  no  reason  whatever  for  misrepresenting  Storey  to 
his  Sovereign. 

But  when  the  matter  is  examined  the  whole  structure  collapses. 
This  statement  does  not  rest  on  the  authority  of  the  Spanish  Ambas 
sador  at  all !  It  is  taken  from  a  mere  translation  into  Spanish 
of  one  of  the  scurrilous  pamphlets  written  against  the  martyr,  to 
which  we  have  already  referred,  that  namely  by  the  Gentleman 
Student  in  the  Lawes  of  the  Realm,  which  is  full  of  the  most  virulent 
abuse  of  the  martyr.  This  student  maintains  that  though  Storey 
was  not  charged  at  his  trial  with  his  various  horrible  treasons,  he 
might  and  would  have  been  had  he  been  only  content  to  plead.  He 
then  goes  on  to  give  what  he  asserts  to  be  a  series  of  Extracts  out  of 
Dr.  Storey's  Confessions,  ix  December,  1570. 

This  letter  was  translated  into  Spanish,  and  found  its  way 
eventually  to  the  State  Archives  of  Simancas.  Part  of  it  is  printed 
in  Spanish  by  Baron  Kervyn  de  Lettenhove,  Relations  Politiques, 
&c.  vi.  p.  141.  The  reference  is  Archives  de  Simancas,  Estado,  Leg. 
826,  fol.  63,  and  is  entitled  Copia  de  carta  escripta  por  un  cavallero  que 
estitdia  leyes  de  Inglaterra  a  cierto  amigo  suyo  sobre  el  Doctor  Estory. 
Among  the  stories  it  contains,  is  one  that  the  martyr  was  ever  in 
the  habit  of  cursing  the  Queen  as  a  form  of  grace  after  meals.  It 


BLESSED    JOHN   STOREY  97 

that  the  true  religion  may  yet  be  restored  there. 
Having  respect  to  the  need  and  trouble  in  which 
I  was  informed  Storey's  wife  was  at  Louvain,  where 
she  lives,  I  have  ordered  the  Duke  to  make  the 
necessary  provision  for  the  maintenance  of  her  and 
her  children." 

The  martyr's  life  and  death  is  said  by  a 
Protestant  informer,  to  have  become  one  of  the 
regular  themes  at  the  English  College  at  Rome.1 
When  the  time  came  to  paint  the  famous  frescoes 
on  the  walls  of  the  church,  Dr.  Storey  was 

is  full  of  quite  unsupported  charges  against  the  martyr,  none  of 
which  were  brought  forward  at  the  trial.  Froude's  transcripts  from 
Simancas  are  now  in  the  British  Museum  (Add.  26,056  b,  158),  and 
there  it  can  be  seen  how  he  has  made  his  extracts  from  this  pre 
posterous  pamphlet,  which  then  he  has  the  audacity  to  give  as  the 
testimony  of  the  Spanish  Ambassador.  His  methods  of  dealing  with 
history  are  however  too  notorious  to  allow  even  such  an  instance 
as  this  to  cause  much  surprise.  Besides  this,  when  the  so-called 
Confessions  are  attentively  read,  it  will  be  seen  that  they  come  to 
little  or  nothing.  Storey  was  certainly  in  communication  with 
Prestal  and  Hamilton,  and  we  have  seen  that  he  acknowledged  at 
his  martyrdom  that  he  was  doing  his  best  to  aid  the  cause  of  the 
imprisoned  Queen  of  Scots,  and  to  restore  her  to  her  own  kingdom. 
But  all  the  "  confession  "  shows  is  that  Storey  had  been  told  by 
Prestal  that  a  mysterious  Englishman  had  a  scheme  for  killing  the 
King  of  Scots,  and  that  this  Englishman  wanted  money.  Later  on 
we  find  him  saying  "  that  Prestal  told  him  he  could  do  much  with 
that  Englishman  in  Ireland,  it'hereinthis  examinate  discouraged  him." 

This  Prestal  seems  to  have  been  in  reality  a  traitor  in  the  pay 
of  the  English  Government,  trying  to  involve  other  men  in  pre 
tended  plots.  At  any  rate,  Lee,  Cecil's  agent,  who  had  so  much 
to  do  with  Storey's  capture,  constantly  reports  long  conversations 
with  him  to  his  master,  and  says  that  he  is  very  well  disposed. 
He  pretended  to  be  a  necromancer,  and  boasted  he  could  predict 
the  day  and  the  hour  of  the  Queen  of  England's  death.  Camden 
calls  him  "  a  magical  impostor  against  the  Queen's  life." 

1  Anthony  Munday,  English  Romaine  Life,  p.  25. 

H  II. 


BLESSED   JOHN   STOREY 


represented  there  among  the  other  martyrs  of 
England,  and  so  it  is  that  he  now  receives  the 
honours  due  to  a  Beatified  Servant  of  God.  But 
nowhere  did  he  receive  more  veneration  than  at 
his  old  University  of  Louvain,  and  among  the 
Carthusians  and  the  Grey  Friars  to  whom  he  had 
been  so  devoted.  They  honoured  him  as  a  saint, 
and  his  relics  and  picture  were  placed  over  the 
altars  in  certain  of  their  churches.  And  indeed  he 
deserved  their  homage,  for  few  more  illustrious 
martyrs  have  suffered  in  England  for  the  defence  of 
the  Supremacy  of  the  Holy  See,  than  this  old  man, 
this  Regius  Professor  of  the  Civil  Law,  who  died 
amidst  such  excruciating  agonies  at  Tyburn.  Even 
the  posthumous  attacks  of  his  enemies,  as  Sander 
reminds  us,  only  serve  to  add  to  his  glory  ;  "  for  in 
trying  to  cast  the  note  of  infamy  on  the  memory  of 
a  venerable  and  aged  man  and  a  most  holy  martyr, 
they  only  prove  how  great  were  his  merits,  since 
even  after  his  death  their  hatred  and  envy  against 
him  have  no  rest.  Frustra  enim  post  Dei  opera,, 
hominum  attexuntur  verba" 

A  word  must  be  added  as  to  those  who  betrayed 
our  martyr  to  his  death.  The  arch-villain  Parker, 
received  a  handsome  pension  from  the  Government. 
He  became  one  of  Cecil's  regular  spies.  The  true 
history  of  his  treachery  was  kept  carefully  concealed. 
Strype  himself  gives  two  accounts  of  it ;  that  in  his 
Life  of  Archbishop  Parker,1  being  the  more  trust 
worthy.  "  Parker  was  procured  by  certain  persons, 

1  ii.  p.  366. 


BLESSED  JOHN  STOREY 


99 


to  which  they  say  Cecil  was  privy,  to  go  to 
Antwerp  and  decoy  Storey,"  but  then  he  adds  that 
"the  Roman  Catholics  did  not  forget  Parker; 
for  this  year,  for  some  pretence,  he  was  cast  into 
prison  by  the  craft  and  malice  of  Storey's  private 
friends  as  a  pirate."  The  truth  was  of  course 
that  Parker  was  conveyed  to  England  with  Storey 
apparently  against  his  will,  imprisoned  and  arraigned 
with  him,  in  order  that  his  complicity  with  Cecil 
might  not  leak  out ;  and  Parker  was  well  paid  for 
submitting  to  it  with  a  good  grace.  Strype  gives  us 
another  version  in  his  Life  of  Sir  J.  Chckc,  asserting 
that  Parker  was  a  merchant  trading  to  Antwerp, 
and  that  when  Storey  came  to  search  his  vessel 
unnecessarily,  he  was  so  angry  that  he  carried  him 
off  to  England  on  his  own  responsibility.  This  is 
no  doubt  the  version  that  the  Government  wished 
to  be  accepted.1 

We  do  not  know  if  Ramsden  and  his  worthy 
comrades  ever  obtained  the  price  of  blood  for  which 
they  so  greatly  hungered.  Lee,  who  lived  at  Antwerp, 
where  he  was  married  to  an  Irishwoman,  did  not 
altogether  escape  the  punishment  he  so  richly 
merited.  He  contrived  to  get  Parker's  wife  and 
family  conveyed  safely  over  to  England,  and  intrigued 

1  There  is  a  long  story  in  Froude  (ix.  460,  &c.)  in  which  Parker 
and  Cecil  reappear  in  peculiarly  disgraceful  parts.  According  to 
this,  Parker  personated  Storey  in  the  Tower  in  order  to  elicit  a 
confession  from  a  prisoner  named  Baily,  and  to  corrupt  his  fidelity 
to  the  Catholic  party.  This,  though  recounted  in  great  detail  by 
Froude,  rests  upon  authority  which  is  by  no  means  convincing. 
However  this  may  be,  Cecil  and  Parker  were  no  doubt  quite  capable 
of  the  treachery  ascribed  to  them. 


BLESSED   JOHN   STOREY 


with  Prestal  in  order  to  get  evidence  against  our 
martyr.  But  having  at  last  (through  information 
furnished  by  Don  Guerau)  been  detected  as  one  of 
the  principal  agents  in  the  whole  disgraceful  business, 
he  was  thrown  into  prison  by  the  Duke  of  Alva. 
From  his  cell  he  wrote  piteous  letters  to  Cecil  and 
Leicester,  who  eventually  thought  it  worth  their 
while  to  intercede  for  his  release.  Probably  they 
recognized  that  he  could  yet  do  them  useful  service 
(for  even  in  prison  he  kept  up  the  farce  of  being  a 
devout  Catholic  exiled  for  the  faith),  and  very  likely 
they  feared  that  he  would  betray  their  secrets  if 
pushed  to  desperation.  Strange  to  say,  the  Duke 
of  Alva  granted  the  petition  and  let  the  traitor  go 
free. 

The  wife  and  family  of  the  martyr  continued  to 
inhabit  the  Low  Countries,  though  we  learn  from 
an  entry  in  the  Acts  of  the  Privy  Council  that  they 
paid  a  visit  to  England  in  1577. 

The  martyr's  son  John  became  a  church  student 
at  Rheims,  and  eventually  a  priest.1  His  mother, 
who  was  still  at  Louvain  in  1557,  came  to  Rheims 
in  order  to  be  near  her  son,  where  we  find  her  in 
1582. 2  Dr.  Allen,  it  would  appear,  found  she  had 
a  sharp  tongue,  and  did  not  much  relish  her  living 
so  near  him.  Perhaps  the  poor  woman's  temper 
had  been  soured  by  her  troubles. 

The  life  of  Blessed  John  Storey  seems  to  show 
how  a  man  who  was  naturally  of  a  choleric  tempera 
ment  can  be  purified  by  suffering,  if  he  has  a  firm 

1  Knox,  Douay  Diaries,  p.  300. 
2  Knox,  Letters  and  Memorials  of  Cardinal  Allen,  p.  168. 


BLESSED   JOHN   STOREY 


grasp  of  the  truths  of  our  holy  religion.  Much  as 
we  dislike  the  Marian  persecution  in  which  he  took 
a  prominent  part,  it  must  be  conceded  that  he  was 
ever  moved  by  a  passionate  love  for  the  Catholic 
Faith,  and  an  intense  desire  to  see  his  fellow-country 
men  united  once  more  in  religious  truth.  His  ardent 
desire  for  the  crown  of  martyrdom,  his  passionate 
sorrow  when,  yielding  to  the  frailty  of  the  flesh,  he 
lost,  as  he  thought  for  ever,  the  opportunity  of 
gaining  the  palm,  his  deep  and  life-long  penitence 
for  his  early  fall  into  schism,  his  joy  when  he  found 
once  more  within  his  grasp  the  crown  which  he  so 
greatly  coveted,  have  all  deep  lessons  for  us,  who  in 
these  soft  days  of  religious  peace  are  in  danger  of 
losing  the  keenness  of  our  faith,  of  sinking  into  a 
false  and  specious  toleration  of  error  which  is  but 
another  name  for  indifferentism.  It  is  well  if  in 
these  milder  times  we  have  learnt  to  shrink  from  all 
that  approaches  to  religious  persecution,  but  it  would 
not  be  well  if  we  were  tempted  to  minimize  or 
conceal  the  fundamental  distinctions  between  truth 
and  error,  or  allow  our  compassion  for  the  heretic 
to  lead  us  to  think  lightly  of  the  evil  of  heresy. 
Rather,  do  we  need  more  than  ever  in  these  days 
the  lessons  of  such  a  life  as  that  of  Blessed  John 
Storey. 

ED. 


BLESSED   JOHN   STOREY 


APPENDIX. 

Dr.  Storey's  Last  Will  and  Testament  made  at  Louvain 
Anno  1552. l 

EMMANUEL. 

In  the  name  of  God,  Amen.  In  the  year 
of  our  Lord  God,  a  thousand  five  hundred  fifty 
and  two,  and  in  the  last  day  of  May,  I,  John 
Storey  Doctor,  lauded  be  Almighty  God,  being 
whole  of  mind  and  body,  do  to  God  and  the 
world  declare  my  last  will  and  testament  in  manner 
and  form  following.  First  and  before  all  things 
transitory,  as  I  do  most  humbly  render  thanks, 
laud  and  praising  to  my  Lord  God,  for  my  creation 
and  redemption,  so  do  I  also  most  humbly  acknow 
ledge  His  great  mercies  by  leading  me  a  wretched 
sinner  out  of  my  native  country ;  the  which  (being 
swerved  out  of  the  sure  ship  of  our  salvation),  I 
beseech  Almighty  God  of  His  infinite  mercy  to 
restore  again  to  the  unity  of  the  same  vessel,  being 
our  mother  the  holy  catholic  church,  for  His  holy 
name's  sake.  And  having  full  trust  and  affiance 
that  I  am  one,  and  within  the  number  of  the  said 

1  The  original  MS.  (undoubtedly  a  holograph  by  Blessed  John 
Storey)  from  which  this  has  been  printed  is  among  the  Petyt  MSS. 
in  the  Inner  Temple  Library.  (No.  538,  vol.  47,  fol.  66,  seq.)  The 
will  is  printed  by  Strype,  Annals,  vol.  ii.  Part  2,  Appendix  x.  p.  450, 
but  with  omissions,  which  are  here  supplied.  The  MS.  is  endorsed, 
"  A  coppye  of  a  will  made  by  John  Story  doctor  in  law."  The  water 
mark  of  the  paper  of  the  MS.  is  a  unicorn. 


BLESSED   JOHN   STOREY  103 


catholic  visible  church  (the  which  doth,  and  here  in 
earth  shall  contain  both  good  and  bad,  until  the 
same  by  wilful  leaping  out,  or  lawful  separation  be 
excluded),  I  do  confess  to  God  and  before  the  world, 
that  I  in  this  perilous  time  of  trial  of  the  corn  from 
the  moveable  chaff,  do  believe,  and  have  full  trust 
and  affiance  in  all  and  every  article,  clause  or 
sentence,  that  our  said  mother  the  holy  church,  con 
tinued  from  the  time  of  the  apostles,  hath  and  shall 
decree,  set  forth  and  deliver  to  be  kept  and  observed 
by  us  her  children.  And  for  my  breaking  of  any 
commandment  of  God  set  forth  by  the  authority  of 
the  same  church,  and  for  my  non-observance  of 
any  decree,  ordinance  or  counsel  of  the  same,  and 
specially  for  mine  offence  in  forsaking  the  unity  of 
it,  by  the  acknowledging  of  any  other  supreme  head 
than  our  Saviour  Jesu  Christ  did  depute  here 
in  earth  to  remain  (which  was  St.  Peter  and  his 
successors,  bishops  of  the  see  of  Rome) — I  do 
most  humbly  and  penitently  cry  God  mercy,  desir 
ing  of  Him  pardon ;  as  I  do  also  ask  forgiveness 
of  all  such  as,  by  my  said  offence  and  evil  example, 
I  have  by  any  means  slandered  or  offended  in  this 
world  :  desiring  all  Christian  people  remaining 
within  the  unity  of  our  said  mother  the  catholic 
church  to  pray  for  me,  being  a  simple  and  a 
wretched  member  of  the  same. 

And  as  concerning  such  my  temporal  goods,  as 
by  the  sufferance  of  Almighty  God,  I  have  been 
steward  of  here  in  this  vale  of  misery,  my  mind  is 
that  all  my  debts  be  truly  contented  and  paid  by 
mine  executor  hereunder  named  to  all  such  persons 


104  BLESSED   JOHN   STOREY 

as  by  any  lawful  means  can  show  any  bill  or  other 
sufficient  title  to  any  part  thereof.  Also  I  do  give 
and  bequeath  to  Ellen  Storey  my  daughter  the  sum 
of  six  hundred  and  iii  score  florins,  to  be  paid  and 
delivered  to  her  at  the  day  of  her  marriage.  So, 
and  under  this  condition,  that  she  do  take  to  husband 
and  marry  such  one  as  her  mother  then  living, 
or  mine  overseers  hereunder  named,  or  any  one  of 
them  do  first  consent  and  give  licence  to  my  said 
daughter  to  marry  or  take  to  husband.  And  if 
my  said  daughter  following  her  own  sensuality  do 
chance  to  marry  with  any  man  without,  or  against 
the  good  will,  pleasure  and  consent  of  her  foresaid 
friends,  or  of  one  of  them,  then  my  mind  is  that 
she  shall  have  only  iii  score  florins  towards  her 
raiment  and  no  more.  And  if  my  said  daughter, 
Ellen,  by  God's  good  motion,  do  enter  into  religion: 
then  do  I  give  and  bequeath  to  the  house  and 
company  where  she  shall  chance  to  be  professed, 
one  hundred  and  xx  florins,  desiring  them  to  be 
good  instructors  of  my  said  daughter,  and  of  their 
charity  to  pray  for  the  souls  of  my  father  and 
mother,  Nicholas  and  Joan,  for  my  soul  and  all 
Christian  souls. 

Also,  I  do  bequeath  my  soul  to  Almighty  God, 
of  whom  this  my  mortal  flesh  hath  received  the 
same  :  and  my  body  to  be  buried  within  the  grey 
friars  in  Louvain,  if  I  do  depart  in  Louvain,  as 
near  unto  the  burial  of  Mr.  Thomas  Tybald  as  may 
be  permitted.  For  the  which  my  burial,  exequies, 
and  other  divine  services,  then  by  that  convent  to 
be  done  and  solemnized  for  the  wealth  of  my  soul, 


BLESSED   JOHN  STOREY  105 

I  do  bequeath  to  that  same  convent  twenty  florins. 
Also  I  give  and  bequeath  unto  the  said  convent  forty 
florins  more,  desiring  them  of  their  charity,  in  their 
daily  celebrations  of  Mass,  that  they  will  pray  for  the 
souls  of  Nicholas  and  Joan  my  parents,  for  my  soul 
and  of  all  Christian  souls ;  and  to  limit  and  appoint 
one  devout  person  of  their  company  by  the  space 
of  ii  years  next  after  my  burial,  daily  to  make  a 
special  memory  to  God  for  my  soul  and  of  all 
Christian  souls.  And  my  mind  is  that  the  same 
convent,  the  next  day  after  my  month's  mind  by 
them  to  be  kept  for  my  soul,  do  receive  of  mine 
executor  the  said  whole  sum  of  money,  viz.,  iii 
score  florins.  For  the  which  I  beseech  them  that  I 
may  have  my  year's  mind  kept  with  Mass  and  Dirige 
by  the  space  of  iii  years. 

Also,  I  do  give  and  bequeath  to  the  house  and 
company  of  the  charter  house  in  Louvain  the  sum 
of  xx  florins;  requiring  them  of  their  charity  in 
their  celebrations  to  pray  by  special  memory  for  the 
soul  of  my  said  parents  and  for  my  soul,  so  long 
as  by  their  charity  they  shall  be  moved  thereunto. 
Also  I  give  and  bequeath  to  the  great  hospital, 
which  lodgeth  and  keepeth  sick  persons,  the  sum  of 
ten  florins,  desiring  them  of  their  charity  to  pray 
for  my  soul  and  all  Christian  souls.1 

1  The  original  ending  of  the  will  here  follows  in  the  MS.  It  was 
afterwards  cancelled  by  the  martyr,  and  the  conclusion  printed 
above  substituted  for  it.  In  the  margin  the  martyr  has  written, 
' '  Canctllatio  hec  facta  est  per  me  Jhoannem  Story."  It  runs  as  follows  : 
"The  residue  of  all  my  goods,  wheresoever  and  in  whose  hands  soever 
they  be,  I  do  give  and  bequeath  to  Joan  Storey  my  wife,  whom  I  do 
make  mine  executrice  so  and  under  the  condition  that  she  do  not 


106  BLESSED   JOHN   STOREY 

The  residue  of  all  my  goods  and  specialties,  in 
whose  hands  soever  they  be,  upon  full  trust  and 
confidence  that  I  have  in  the  promise  of  my  well- 
beloved  wife,  Joan  Storey  hereafter  mentioned,  I  do 
give  and  bequeath  unto  her ;  whom  I  do  make  my 
whole  and  sole  executrice,  to  perform  this  my  last 
will.  Provided  always,  and  it  is  my  full  mind  and 
deliberate  will,  that  my  said  executrice  shall  not 
take  nor  demand  my  whole  money  out  of  my  great 
and  especial  friend  Mr.  Bonvice's  hand,  by  the 
space  of  iii  years  next  after  my  decease  ;  but  shall 

return  and  by  the  space  of  one  month  abide  in  England,  neither 
send  her  daughter  and  mine  thither  or  carry  her,  until  the  same  land 
or  state  thereof  be  converted  and  returned  to  the  unity  of  our  mother 
the  holy  catholic  church,  out  of  the  which  the  same  land  by  schism 
is  swerved.  And  if  my  said  wife,  following  her  sensuality  and 
neglecting  her  soul,  shall  chance  to  return  into  England,  as  God 
forbid,  and  make  her  abode  there  above  the  space  of  one  month, 
without  lawful  impediment  of  her  return,  or  do  at  any  time  before 
religion  be  there  reformed,  carry  or  send  her  daughter  and  mine 
into  that  land  or  any  part  thereof,  then  and  in  such,  case  my  mind 
is  that  my  especial  good  friend  Mr.  Anthony  Bonvice,  upon  suit 
made  to  him  by  my  said  wife,  do  deliver  to  her  of  such  money  as 
remaineth  of  mine  in  his  hands  twenty  pounds  Flemish  or  of  English 
money  at  her  choice,  and  to  keep  the  rest  of  my  money  remaining 
in  his  hand  for  the  payment  of  my  legacies  abovesaid,  and  for  the 
use  of  my  daughter  for'  her  best  profit,  to  be  delivered  to  her 
at  the  day  of  her  marriage  ;  so  that  she  do  not  marry  but  with  the 
consent  of  my  said  especial  good  friend  Mr.  Bonvice  then  living. 
And  in  case  that  my  said  daughter  do  rather  choose  to  enter  and 
continue  in  religion  than  to  marry,  then  my  will  is  that,  after  one 
hundred  and  xx  florins  by  Mr.  Bonvice  paid  to  the  cloister  where 
she  will  be  professed,  and  after  all  other  my  legacies  performed, 
that  the  rest  of  my  money  with  him  remaining  shall  still  remain  in 
his  hands  and  with  the  profits  thereof  to  find  my  nephew  John 
Storey  to  school  in  Louvain  by  the  space  of  iii  years ;  and  after  that 
time  to  distribute  all  such  money  as  then  shall  remain  in  his  hands, 
the  one  moiety  thereof  to  poor  scholars  and  priests  being  English 
men  here  tarrying  in  these  parts  and  the  other  moiety  to  my  said 


BLESSED   JOHN   STOREY  I0? 


receive  only  such  money  of  him,  as  will  pay  my 
legacies  to  be  prayed  for,  (the  which  several  sums 
my  mind  is  shall  be  paid  although  I  do  depart  this 
life  out  of  Louvain)  and  such  other  money  as  my 
said  worshipful  friend  of  his  charitable  benevolence 
will  give  to  her  for  occupying  such  her  stock  as  he 
hath  of  mine  in  his  hands.  And  my  mind  is  that 
this  clause  shall  take  place  only  in  the  life  of  rny 
said  worshipful  friend  Mr.  Bonvice,  or  else  my  said 
wife  to  take  up  the  whole  at  her  pleasure. 

Item,     I     do     desire     my     said     good     friend, 
Mr.  Anthony   Bonvice,1  to  be  overseer  of    this   my 

wife,  daughter,  nephew,  and  servant  called  Bess,  after  such  sort 
and  rate,  as  to  his  wisdom  shall  seem  to  be  most  requisite  and 
expedient  according  to  their  necessity  and  following  of  this  my  last 
will.  And  I  shall  most  entirely  desire  my  said  worshipful  and 
charitable  friend  Mr.  Bonvice  to  be  overseer  of  this  my  last  will, 
and  in  my  wife's  refusal  by  her  departing  into  England,  to  execute 
this  my  last  will  as  well  concerning  my  burial  and  legacies,  as  in 
causing  a  piece  of  brass  to  set  upon  my  grave  declaring  my  name  and 
day  of  my  departing,  if  I  chance  to  die  in  Louvain  ;  provided  alway 
that  if  my  said  wife  do  continue  still  in  Louvain  and  do  marry  or 
not  marry,  and  do  take  upon  her  to  be  mine  executor  or  not  take 
upon  her,  my  full  mind  and  special  request  is,  that  my  said  worship 
ful  friend  Mr.  Bonvice  do  not  deliver  to  her  above  the  sum  of  thirty 
pounds  by  the  year.  And  after  she  hath  tarried  here  at  Louvain  iii 
full  years  after  my  decease,  my  mind  is  that  my  said  worshipful 
friend,  upon  her  bond  that  she  will  not  return  into  England  until  it 
be  reformed,  do  deliver  to  my  said  wife  (if  they  both  shall  think  it 
best)  the  whole  sum  remaining  for  the  behoof  of  her  and  my 
daughter. 

In  witness  whereof  I  have  written  these  presents,  the  year  and 
day  abovesaid. 

Per  me, 

Jo:  STORYE." 

1  Antonio  Bonvisi,  our  martyr's  dear  and  faithful  friend,  was  a 
wealthy  wool  merchant,  sprung  from  an  ancient  and  noble  family 
of  Lucca,  but  probably  born  in  England.  He  was  a  fervent 


io8  BLESSED   JOHN   STOREY 


last  will  and  testament,  most  heartily  desiring  him 
to  be  good  instructor  of  my  wife,  to  keep  and  perform 
her  promise  made  to  God  and  me.  Whereupon  I 
have  altered  the  last  end  of  my  will  above  written. 
Which  promise  is  that  she  at  no  time,  until  the 
land  of  England  be  restored  to  the  unity  of  Christ's 

Catholic,  a  kindly  patron  of  learned  men,  and  the  devoted 
friend  of  Blessed  Thomas  More,  Blessed  John  Fisher,  and  Cardinal 
Pole.  He  ministered  to  Fisher  and  More  in  prison,  stood  by 
Friar  Peto  when  he  had  to  fly  to  the  Low  Countries  after  his 
courageous  sermon  against  Henry  VIII. 's  first  divorce,  and  was 
eulogized  by  Pole,  who  calls  him  "  a  special  benefactor  of  all 
Catholic  and  good  persons,  .  .  .  worthy  is  he  of  name,  and  I  doubt 
not  but  his  name  is  in  the  book  of  life."  He  resided  at  Crosby 
Hall,  Bishopsgate  Street,  which  he  at  first  leased  from  the  nuns  of 
St.  Helen's,  and  after  the  dissolution  of  the  priory,  bought  (in  1552) 
from  the  King.  At  the  beginning  of  the  reign  of  Edward  VI.  he 
went  into  voluntary  exile  for  the  Faith,  his  property  in  England 
was  confiscated,  and  in  the  general  pardon  which  concluded  the 
Acts  of  the  Parliament  of  1553,  he  was  specially  excepted,  together 
with  his  friends  Pole  and  Storey.  He  recovered  his  English 
property  in  the  reign  of  Queen  Mary,  and  died  at  Louvain  at  a  very 
advanced  age,  December  7, 1558.  His  nephew,  Benedict,  inherited 
his  English  property. 

Two  Inquisitiones  post  mortem  relating  to  him  are  to  be  found  in 
vol.  xv.  of  the  publications  of  the  British  Record  Society,  the  first 
taken  at  the  confiscation  of  his  property  (p.  113),  the  second  at  his 
death  (p.  182).  From  the  former  we  learn  that  before  he,  "  without 
licence  from  the  King,  craftily  and  rebelliously  took  flight  with  all 
his  family  and  went  to  parts  beyond  the  seas,  to  wit,  to  Antwerp," 
he  had  conveyed  Crosby  Hall  (or  Crosbies  Place  as  it  was  then 
called),  and  other  property,  to  William  Roper  and  William  Rastell 
(both  near  connections  of  Blessed  Thomas  More),  for  the  term  of 
99  years. 

We  may  add  that  More  says,  in  a  letter  written  from  the  Tower, 
that  he  had  been  for  nearly  40  years  "  not  a  guest,  but  a  continual 
nursling  of  the  house  of  Bonvisi,"  and  calls  Antonio  the  most 
faithful  of  his  friends.  For  other  details  see  Dictionary  of  National 
Biography,  vol.  v.  p.  335  (by  C.  Trice  Martin). 


BLESSED   JOHN  STOREY  109 

church,  will  return  thither,  or  carry  her  daughter 
and  mine  into  that  land,  except  it  be  for  the  only 
intent  to  procure  her  mother  to  come  thence.  And 
in  such  case  not  to  tarry  there  above  the  space  of 
iii  months,  unless  she  by  compulsion  be  enforced 
thereunto. 

In  witness  whereof  I  have  written  these  presents 
and  subscribed  my  name. 

Per  me  JOHAXXEM  STORYE. 


AUTHORITIES. — The  principal  Catholic  authority  is,  of 
course,  Sander,  who  was  a  friend  of  the  martyr.  His  account 
of  him  in  the  DC  Visibili  Monarchia  (1570)  is  perhaps  most 
accessible  in  the  Concertatio  (Treves,  1589),  fol.  43  A — 45  n. 
It  has  been  translated  into  Spanish  by  Bishop  Yepes,  Historia 
Particular  (Madrid,  1599),  pp.  43,  44.  Sander  also  speaks  of 
the  martyr  in  his  History  of  the  Anglican  Schism  (Edit.  Lewis, 
1877),  pp.  200,  £c. 

The  principal  general  sources  are,  the  Calendars  of  Staff 
Papers,  especially  the  Spanish  and  Foreign,  passim. 

Acts  of  the  Privy  Council  (Edit.  Dasent). 

Journals  of  the  House  of  Commons,  vol.  i.  pp   6,  8,  and  9. 

Camden's  Annals,  for  1569  and  1571. 

Strype's  Life  of  Archbishop  Cranmer,  and  Life  of  Archbishop 
Parker,  also  Memorials  and  Annals  of  the  Reformation,  passim. 

Burnet,  History  of  the  Reformation  (Edit.  Pocock). 

Wood,  Athena  Oxon.,  Edit.  Bliss,  i.  386 — 90. 

Macleane,  History  of  Pembroke  College  (Oxford  Hist.  Soc., 
1897). 

Foster,  Alumni  Oxonienses  (1500 — 1714). 

Wright,  Elizabeth,  i.  373,  374,  378. 

Maitland's  Essays  on  the  Reformation. 

Foxe's  Acts  and  Monuments  (Edit.  Townsend),  very  bitter 
and  unscrupulous. 


BLESSED  JOHN    STOREY 


Dictionary  of  National  Biography  (by  A.  F.  Pollard,  vol.  54, 
p.  427). 

There  are  also  the  pamphlets  issued  by  various  Protestant 
writers  in  1571,  to  which  we  have  referred  in  the  text,  and  the 
letters  printed  in  various  volumes  of  the  Parker  Society  (see 
Cough's  Index),  all  of  which  are  exceedingly  hostile.  The 
reader  will  find  Froude  not  less  bitter.  He  may  also  refer  to 
Dixon,  History  of  the  Church  of  England,  vols.  iv.  and  v.,  and 
the  Cambridge  Modern  History,  vol.  ii.  pp.  474  and  585. 

The  other  authorities,  including  R.  Simpson's  admirable 
article  in  the  Rambler,  are  fully  referred  to  in  the  text. 


III. 

THE  BLESSED  THOMAS  PERCY, 

York,  22  August,  1572; 

THE    BLESSED   THOMAS    PLUMTREE, 

Durham,  4  January,  1572. 

FEW  writers,  even  among  Catholics,  appear  to  have- 
given  quite  the  attention  it  deserves  to  the  magni 
ficent  confession  of  the  Faith,  made  both  during 
life  and  still  more  at  his  death,  by  the  martyred 
nobleman  who  forms  the  subject  of  this  memoir. 
He  was  born  in  1528,  and  was  the  eldest  son  of 
Sir  Thomas  Percy,  brother  and  heir-presumptive  to 
Henry  Algernon,  sixth  Earl  of  Northumberland, 
who  was  childless.  His  mother,  the  Lady  Eleanor, 
was  daughter  to  Sir  Guiscard  Harbottal,  who  had 
fallen  at  Flodden  Field  in  1513,  slain  by  the  hand 
of  the  Scottish  King  himself.1 

Sir  Thomas  and  his  lady  seem  after  their 
marriage  to  have  resided  partly  at  Newburn,  partly 
at  Prudhoe  Castle,  on  the  Tyne,  one  of  the  many 
fortresses  belonging  to  the  Earl ;  and  there  most 
probably  were  spent  the  early  years  of  the  future 
martyr's  life.  It  was  a  time  when  there  was  rarely 

1  History  of  Northumberland.     By  Cadwallader  J.  Bates,  p.  209. 


ii2     BE.  THOMAS  PERCY  AND  THOMAS  PLUMTREE 


peace  for  long  together  upon  the  Scottish  border, 
and  when,  even  whilst  a  truce  existed  between  the 
English  and  the  Scotch,  the  tranquillity  of  the 
country  was  too  often  disturbed  by  petty  feuds 
between  the  gentry  of  Northumberland  themselves. 
The  din  of  arms  must  thus  have  been  familiar  to  the 
little  Thomas  Percy,  even  from  his  earliest  years. 

When  he  was  but  little  more  than  eight  years 
old,  there  broke  out,  in  the  October  of  1536,  the 
movement  known  as  the  Pilgrimage  of  Grace, 
which  stirred  the  whole  North  of  England,  from 
the  Scottish  borders  to  the  Humber.  Gathering 
together  under  banners  bearing  the  representation 
of  our  Lord  upon  the  Cross,  and  the  Chalice  with 
the  Host,  the  good  simple  people  of  the  northern 
counties  marched  in  thousands  into  Yorkshire, 
crying  out  for  the  re-establishment  of  the  monas 
teries,  the  repeal  of  the  laws  by  which  the  Pope's 
authority  had  been  abolished,  and  the  restoration 
of  the  ancient  Faith  in  its  entirety.  At  first  King 
Henry  quailed  before  the  Pilgrims,  and  found  it 
necessary  to  dissemble  his  resentment  until,  by 
deceitful  promises  of  redress  of  their  grievances,  he 
had  cajoled  them  into  dispersing  and  returning  to 
their  homes.  But,  in  the  next  spring,  on  their 
reassembling,  having  meantime  despatched  more 
numerous  forces  to  the  Duke  of  Norfolk,  his  lieu 
tenant,  he  succeeded  in  securing  the  persons  of 
their  leaders ;  and  these  were  forthwith  sent  up  to 
London  to  be  tried  and  executed,  while  their  more 
humble  followers  were  hanged  in  scores  at  York, 
Hull,  and  Carlisle. 


BD.  THOMAS  PERCY  AND  THOMAS  PLUUTREE 


In  the  Pilgrimage  of  Grace  no  one,  after  Robert 
Aske,  its  leader,  seems  to  have  figured   more  con 
spicuously   than    Sir  Thomas   Percy,   our    martyr's 
father.     He  led  the  vanguard  of  the  pilgrim  army, 
composed  of  six  thousand  men,  marching  under  the 
banner  of  St.  Cuthbert.     After  their  dispersion,  he 
returned    to    Prudhoe  Castle ;    but,   on   being   sum 
moned    to    Doncaster   by  the    Duke  of  Norfolk,   he 
surrendered  of  his  own  accord,  and  being  taken  up  to 
London,  was  thrown  into  the  Tower.    Thence,  after 
the    formality   of   a    trial    at    Westminster,    he   was 
drawn   to   Tyburn   on   the   2nd   of  June,    1537,   <™d 
there     hanged,    in    company    with    other    supposed 
leaders  of  the  movement,  amongst  whom  were  the 
Abbot   of  Jervaulx   and   a   Dominican    friar   named 
John   Pickering.     The   official  report   of  the   trials, 
now   published   amongst   the   State   Papers,1   shows 
that    the    charge,   on    which    these    sufferers    were 
condemned,  was   that  they   "did,  as  false  traitors, 
conspire    and    imagine  to  deprive   the    King  of  his 
royal  dignity,  viz.,  of  being  on  earth  Supreme  Head 
of  the  Church  of  England."     We  may  therefore  be 
allowed  to  hope  that,  in  the  sight  of  God,  they  died 
true  martyrs  for  the  Catholic  Faith. 

The  knowledge,  if  not  the  actual  recollection  (for 
he  was  nine  years  old  when  it  occurred),  of  the 
circumstances  which  led  to  his  brave  father's  death, 
in  defence  of  the  very  cause  for  which  he  was  himself 
to  die  so  gloriously,  cannot  have  failed  to  influence 
the  character  of  our  martyr,  especially  considering 

1  Given  in  De  Fonblanque's  Annals  of  the  House  of  Percy,  vol.  i. 
PP-  570,  571. 


II. 


u4  BB.  THOMAS  PERCY  AND  THOMAS  PLUMTREE 

the  sufferings  which  Sir  Thomas  Percy's  execution 
brought  upon  his  family.  As  a  consequence  of  his 
attainder,  his  children  were  excluded  from  succeed 
ing  either  to  the  earldom  of  Northumberland,  or  to 
the  estates  which,  on  the  demise  of  the  Earl,  their 
uncle,  a  few  weeks  later,  would  naturally  have  fallen 
to  them;  and  for  a  time  they  had  to  depend  entirely 
upon  the  charity  of  strangers.  The  Lady  Eleanor 
Percy,  their  poor  widowed  mother,  seems  to  have 
been  considered  too  much  implicated  in  the  so-called 
treason  of  her  husband  to  be  allowed  to  retain  them 
in  her  charge  ;  and  for  a  while,  at  all  events,  the 
little  Thomas  and  his  still  younger  brother  Henry 
were  placed  under  the  keeping  of  Sir  Thomas 
Tempest — one  of  the  Commissioners  appointed  for 
the  trials  of  the  Pilgrims— who  lived  at  Holmside, 
near  to  Durham. 

The  cost  of  their  maintenance  there — to  his 
honour  be  it  said — was  defrayed  by  none  other 
than  the  Duke  of  Norfolk,1  who,  in  spite  of  the 
relentless  manner  with  which  he  had  executed  the 
King's  vengeance  on  the  defeated  pilgrims,  pitied 
the  forlorn  condition  of  these  homeless  children  of 
their  leader.  The  position  of  Holmside  exposed  it, 
however,  to  the  attacks  of  Scotch  marauders,  who 
might  be  tempted,  it  was  feared,  to  carry  off  the 
little  Percys  in  hopes  of  obtaining  the  payment  of 
a  ransom.  Some  months  later,  therefore,  at  the 
request  of  Sir  Thomas  Tempest,  Bishop  Tunstall 
wrote  to  Cromwell,  begging  that  some  place  might 
be  provided  for  them  "more  within  the  country. 

1  De  Fonblanque,  ii.  p.  4. 


BB.  THOMAS  PERCY  AND  THOMAS  PLUMTREE     115 

The  children  be  young,  and  must  be  among  women." ] 
We  are  not  told  what  followed  from  the  Bishop's 
application,  nor  how  long  the  poor  children  were 
kept  separated  from  their  mother  ; 2  and  but  little 
more  is  known  with  reference  to  the  early  life  of  our 
martyr.  He  and  his  brother  are  said,  however,  to 
have  received  some  part  of  their  education  at  Liver 
pool,  which  must  then  have  greatly  differed  from 
the  present  crowded  city.:i 

Meanwhile  Henry  VIII.  passed  to  his  account, 
and  was  succeeded  by  his  son,  Edward  VI.  Under 
the  boy-king,  in  the  February  of  1549,  an  Act  of 
Parliament  was  passed  "  for  the  restitution  in  blood 
of  Mr.  Thomas  Percy,"4  who  in  that  year  attained 
the  age  of  manhood.  By  this  Act  the  young  Percy 
was  so  far  rehabilitated,  as  heir  to  his  father,  as  to 
be  entitled  to  inherit  any  property  which  might  come 
to  him  from  collateral  branches  of  his  family;  and 
he  was  enabled  also  to  receive  the  benefit  of  an 
annuity  which  his  uncle,  the  late  Earl,  had  left  him. 
About  this  same  time,  moreover,  he  was  knighted. 
It  was  not  till  three  years  later  that  restoration 
was  made  to  him  of  any  part  of  the  North- 

1  R.O.  Henry  VIII.  Domestic,  vol.  v.  p.  irS. 

2  In  the  year  following  her  husband's  execution,  Lady  Percy  is 
mentioned  as  being  at  Preston  Tower,  a  residence  some  ten  miles 
south   of    Berwick,    which    she   had    inherited   from   her   father's 
family,  with  a  portion  of  the  Ellingham  estate.  (Bateson's  History 
of  Northumberland,  ii.  p.  106.) 

3  See  Collins's  Peerage  of  England,  1779,  vol.  ii.  p.  386,  where  bills, 
&c.,    relating    to    the    board    and    education    of    the    two    young 
Percys  are   referred    to   as   amongst    the  papers   of  the   Duke  of 
Northumberland. 

4  Lords'  Journals,  2.  Edward  VI. 


n6  BB.  THOMAS  PERCY  AND  THOMAS  PLUMTREE 

umberland  estates,  but  he  was  then  allowed  to 
take  possession  of  Langley,  Ellingham,  and  certain 
other  manors.  Meantime  the  entire  barony  of 
Alnwick  was  bestowed  by  the  young  King  on 
the  adventurous  and  unprincipled  Dudley,  Earl  of 
Warwick,  with  the  then  unprecedented  title  of 
Duke  (not  Earl)  of  Northumberland. 

The  downfall  of  this  nobleman,  consequent   on 
his  attempt  in   1553  to  exclude  Queen   Mary  from 
the  throne,  removed  the  chief  obstacle  to  Sir  Thomas 
Percy's   reinstatement   in  the   ancient  honours  and 
possessions  of  his  family ;   and  we  may  be  sure  that 
from  the  first  he   must  have  had   the  sympathy  of 
the   good  Queen,  whose  own   fidelity  to   the  Faith 
had  been  the  occasion  of  so  many  sufferings.     Soon 
after  her  accession,  Sir  Thomas  Percy  was  named 
Governor   of   Prudhoe  Castle,   and   throughout   her 
reign    he    showed    himself    a    faithful    and    active 
supporter  of  her  interests.     In  the  April  of  1557,  he 
earned  particular  distinction   by  capturing,  after  a 
two  days'  siege,  the  Castle  of  Scarborough  from  Sir 
Thomas  Stafford,  who  had  seized  upon  it  whilst  in 
conspiracy  with   the    French    King    against   Queen 
Mary.     The   restoration    of   Sir   Thomas    Percy  to 
the    earldom    quickly    followed,    and     on     May   the 
ist    of    the    same    year    he    was    created     Earl    of 
Northumberland,    with    remainder   to    his    brother 
Henry:  the  subordinate  titles  of  Baron  Percy,  Baron 
Poynings,  Lucy,  Bryan,  and  Fitzpane,  having  been 
conferred  upon  him  on  the  previous  day. 

The  patent  of  his  creation   set  forth  that  "the 
same  was  done  in  consideration  of  his  noble  descent, 


BB.  THOMAS  PERCY  AND  THOMAS  PLUMTREE     117 

constancy  of  virtues,  valour  in  deeds  of  arms,  and 
other  shining  qualifications."  Of  the  ceremony  of 
his  installation  at  Whitehall,  Hutchinson  writes  : 
"  It  was  attended  with  great  pomp.  The  procession 
was  preceded  by  eight  heralds  and  twelve  trumpeters. 
He  was  accompanied  by  the  Earls  of  Pembroke, 
Arundel,  and  Rutland,  and  the  Lord  Montague- 
walking  in  the  middle  in  robes  of  crimson  velvet, 
and  a  coronet  of  gold."1 

Queen  Mary  gave  him  a  fresh  proof  of  her  con 
fidence  by  appointing  him  at  the  same  time  Warden 
General  of  the  Marches,  in  conjunction  with  Lord 
Wharton.  He  was  soon  called  upon  in  this  capacity 
to  show  his  prowess  in  the  field.  A  fresh  outbreak 
of  hostilities  with  the  Scotch  occurred  in  the  July 
°f  i557»  tt'hen  the  latter  crossed  the  Border.  The 
new  Earl  of  Northumberland  led  an  expedition  to 
the  Cheviots,  where  he  not  only  gained  a  victory, 
but  succeeded  in  taking  prisoner  Sir  Andrew  Ker, 
the  Scotch  leader. 

In  the  following  January  the  Queen  commissioned 
him  to  treat  with  Scotland  for  a  truce  between  the 
two  kingdoms,  and  wrote  at  the  same  time  to  the 
venerable  Bishop  of  Durham,  Cuthbert  Tunstall, 
requesting  him  to  assist  the  Earl  with  his  counsel 
in  this  important  matter.2  The  truce,  however, 
proved  but  of  short  duration;  and  in  the  summer 
of  the  same  year  we  again  find  the  Earl  and  his 
brother,  Sir  Henry  Percy,  occupied,  not  always  with 
complete  success,  in  repelling  the  inroads  of  the 
Scotch,  now  led  by  French  officers. 

1   View  of  Northumberland,  ii.  238. 
-  Scottish  Calendar,  January  21  and  23,  1558. 


n8  BB.  THOMAS  PERCY  AND  THOMAS  PLUMTREE 

Meanwhile,  we  must  not  forget  to  mention  the 
Earl's  marriage,  in  the  same  year,  1558,  with  Anne 
Somerset,  daughter  of  the  Earl  of  Worcester,  a 
courageous  lady,  who,  by  her  patient  endurance 
throughout  the  long  period  of  her  widowhood  and 
exile,  proved  herself  no  unfitting  consort  for  the 
destined  martyr.  His  mother,  the  Lady  Eleanor, 
seems  to  have  continued  living  on  her  Ellingham 
estate,  which  she  had  made  over  to  him,  but  had  to 
receive  back  for  her  lifetime ;  and  we  find  her  com 
plained  of  to  Cecil,  in  1563,  as  having  had  Mass 
said  in  her  house.  About  four  years  after  her 
husband's  death,  the  Lady  Eleanor  had  married 
Sir  Richard  Holland,  of  Denton,  in  Lancashire,  who 
died  in  1548  ;  from  which  time,  until  her  own 
death  in  1567,  she  remained  a  widow.1 

In  the  November  of  1558,  Queen  Mary  died; 
and  the  accession  of  her  half-sister,  Elizabeth,  was 
the  signal  for  England's  being  plunged  again,  more 
hopelessly  than  ever,  into  heresy  and  schism. 

The  new  Queen  soon  made  it  clear  that  her  first 
object  was  to  sever  all  connection  between  England 
and  Rome ;  and,  following  the  bad  example  of  her 
father,  to  leave  no  stone  unturned  to  wrest  to  herself 
the  authority  which  God  has  given  to  the  Roman 
Pontiff. 

Elizabeth's  first  Parliament  assembled  on  the 
25th  of  January,  1559,  and  was  dissolved  on  May 
the  8th  following.  In  this,  in  opposition  to  the 
votes  of  all  the  Bishops,  and  to  counter-resolu- 

1  Collins,  ii.  p.  386. 


BB.  THOMAS  PERCY  AND  THOMAS  PLUMTREE     119 

tions  of  both  Houses  of  Convocation,  were  passed 
the  two  Acts  of  Supremacy  and  of  Uniformity,  the 
effect  of  which  was  to  depose  the  Catholic  religion 
from  its  place  as  the  religion  of  the  country  (the 
observance  of  it  being  thenceforth  made  into  a 
legal  crime),  and  to  set  up  in  its  stead  the  institu 
tion  still  styled  in  law  the  Established  Church  of 
England,  to  which  all  the  old  Catholic  churches  and 
cathedrals  were  from  that  time  made  over. 

By  the  first  of  these  two  Acts  the  spiritual 
authority  of  every  foreign  prelate  was  declared 
within  the  realm  to  be  abolished,  the  jurisdiction 
exercised  till  then  by  the  Pope  being  made  over 
to  the  Crown.  Assertors  of  the  Pope's  authority 
were  to  be  punished,  for  a  first  offence  by  forfeiture 
of  property,  fora  second  by  perpetual  imprisonment; 
whilst  a  third  transgression  was  to  be  visited  with 
the  penalty  of  death,  inflicted  as  in  cases  of  high 
treason.  By  the  Act  of  Uniformity  the  Holy  Sacrifice 
of  the  Mass  was  prohibited,  and  it  was  required 
that  in  all  churches  the  ministers  should  use  the 
Protestant  Book  of  Common  Prayer  alone,  under 
like  penalties  of  forfeiture,  deprivation,  and  death.1 

It  was  thus  that  the  so-called  Church  of  England 
came  into  existence ;  the  faithful  Bishops,  who  had 
all,  save  one,  refused  to  take  the  oath  of  the  Queen's 
Supremacy,  being  at  the  same  time  deposed  from 
their  sees  by  the  civil  power,  and  condemned  to 
end  their  days  in  prison  or  in  voluntary  exile  ;  whilst 
into  their  bishoprics,  thus  forcibly  vacated,  they 

1  Hallam,  Constitutional  History  of  England,  i.   152  ;  Lingard,  vi. 
P-  13- 


120     BB.  THOMAS  PERCY  AND  THOMAS  PLUMTREE 

had  to  witness  the  intrusion  of  ministers  of  the  new 
State-made  religion. 

Most  justly,  therefore,  did  our  martyr  Earl 
exclaim  later,  as  he  stood  upon  the  scaffold  :  "  As 
to  this  new  Church  of  England,  I  do  not  acknow 
ledge  it !  "  How,  indeed,  could  he  acknowledge  it 
as  the  Church  of  Jesus  Christ  when  he  had  seen 
it  thus  brought  into  existence,  and  knew  whose 
handiwork  it  was  ? 

The  Earl  was  not  himself  present  at  the  passing 
of  these  Acts,  having  been  specially  instructed  by  the 
Council  to  remain  in  the  North  (where  he  was  much 
occupied  as  Warden  of  the  Marches),  and  not  to 
come  up  to  attend  the  Parliament.1  It  may  be  true 
enough  that  the  disturbed  condition  of  the  Borders 
at  the  moment  supplied  the  Council  with  some 
pretext  for  this  action  ;  but  there  can  be  little  doubt 
that  the  real  reason  of  his  being  thus  kept  at  a 
distance  at  so  critical  a  juncture,  was  his  well- 
known  attachment  to  the  ancient  Faith,  which 
would  have  ensured  his  opposition  to  the  evil 
measures  then  in  contemplation. 

Being  thus  debarred  from  attending  Parliament 
in  person,  the  Earl  of  Northumberland  named  as 
his  proxy  in  the  House  of  Lords,  with  power  to  vote 

1  Foreign  Calendar,  January  n,  1559.  Privy  Council  to  Earl  of 
Northumberland.  "He  is  to  stay  in  the  North,  and  not  come  to 
Parliament."  In  the  first  issue  of  this  memoir  (by  the.C.T.S.),  the 
Earl  of  Northumberland  was  wrongly  said  to  have  been  present  at 
some  of  the  Sessions  of  this  Parliament ;  the  writer  having  been 
misled  by  the  lists  of  Peers  in  the  Lords'  Journals,  in  which  the 
Earl's  name  is  found  with  those  of  the  others,  but  without  a  p 
(meaning  prase  us)  added  to  it. 


BB.  TP10MAS  PERCY  AND  THOMAS  PLUMTREE     121 

in  his  name,  the  Earl  of  Arundel,  who  was  then 
regarded  as  a  zealous  Catholic.  Unfortunately, 
however,  this  nobleman  proved  himself  in  the  event 
unworthy  of  the  trust  reposed  in  him  ;  having  been 
"  won  over  [if  Rishton  is  correct]  by  the  expectation 
of  marrying  the  Queen  held  out  to  him  by  Elizabeth 
herself.'" ]  After  absenting  himself  from  Parliament 
for  a  great  part  of  the  Session  "  from  indisposition  " 
(as  the  Mantuan  Envoy  wrote),  "  feigned,  as  some 
think,  to  avoid  consulting  about  such  ruin  of  this 
realm  ;  "  J  Arundel  is  said,  in  the  end,  to  have 
actually  voted  for  the  Hill  conferring  religious 
Supremacy  upon  the  Queen.  Of  this,  however, 
grace  was  given  him  to  repent  before  he  died  ;  nor 
can  Northumberland  be  held  in  any  way  responsible 
for  the  weakness  of  his  proxy. 

On  May  the  loth,  two  days  after  the  Parliament 
had  closed,  the  Queen  despatched  to  the  Earl  of 
Northumberland,  in  conjunction  with  the  Bishop  of 
Durham,  Cuthbert  Tunstall,  and  Sir  Joseph  Croft, 
a  commission  to  conclude  a  fresh  treaty  with  the 
Queen  Dowager  of  Scotland.  This  treaty  was 
signed  by  the  representatives  of  the  twro  nations, 
at  Upsatlington,  on  the  3ist  of  May,  1559. :i 

The  venerable  Bishop,  with  whom  Northumber 
land  was  associated  in  this  commission,  had  also 
been  dispensed  by  the  Queen  from  attending  Parlia 
ment  ;  the  Acts  passed  by  which  had  filled  him  with 

1  Rise  and  Growth  of  the  Anglican  Schism,  Sander  and  Rishton. 
(Edit.  Lewis,  p.  255.) 

*  Venetian  Calendar,  March  21,  1559. 

:<  Scottish  Caltndar,  May  10  and  31,  1559. 

4  Domestic  Calendar,  December  19,  1558. 


122     BB.  THOMAS  PERCY  AND  THOMAS  PLUMTREE 


sorrow  and  dismay.  As  soon  as  the  business  con 
nected  with  the  treaty  was  concluded,  the  aged 
prelate  wrote  from  his  residence  at  Auckland  both 
to  Cecil  and  the  Queen  herself,  expressing  his  great 
"  wish  to  do  his  duty  to  his  Sovereign  once  in  his 
days,"1  and  announced  his  coming  up  to  London, 
with  some  faint  hope  perhaps  of  being  able  even 
yet  to  do  something  to  avert  the  change.  Causing 
himself  therefore  to  be  conveyed  thither  with  such 
haste  as  his  great  age  would  permit,  he  reached 
London  on  July  the  2oth.  It  is  needless  to  say 
that  the  remonstrances  of  the  good  Bishop  were 
altogether  ineffectual ;  and  after  making  a  noble 
protest  against  the  introduction  of  any  change  into 
the  diocese  of  which  he  was  the  Bishop,  and  on 
refusing  to  take  the  new  Oath  of  Supremacy  he 
was  declared  to  be  deprived  of  his  see  (as  already 
had  been  most  of  his  brother  Bishops),  and  was 
placed  in  strict  confinement  in  the  house  of  Matthew 
Parker,  whom  Elizabeth  had  appointed  to  the 
archbishopric  of  Canterbury.  There  did  Bishop 
Tunstall  die,  a  prisoner  for  the  Faith,  on  November 
the  i8th  following. 

Meantime,  on  August  the  6th  of  the  same  eventful 
year,  1559,  the  Queen  had  addressed  to  the  Earl 
of  Northumberland,  whom  she  still  detained  in  his 
own  county,  a  fresh  commission  "  for  the  reforma 
tion  of  the  disorders  committed  by  the  Scots  upon 
the  frontier."  With  him,  however,  were  joined  in 
the  commission  Sir  Ralph  Sadler  and  Sir  James 
Croft,  and  the  instructions  secretly  issued  to  the 

1  Foreign  Calendar,  June  30,  1559. 


BB.  THOMAS  PERCY  AND  THOMAS  PLUMTREE     123 

first  of  these  a  few  days  later,1  prove  that  the  Earl's 
name  was  placed  at  the  head  of  the  commission 
merely  to  deceive  the  public  ;  the  real  purpose  of 
Elizabeth  and  Cecil  being  to  give  all  the  secret 
encouragement  they  could  to  the  Scottish  insur 
gents,  whom  the  fanatical  John  Knox  was  heading, 
in  the  hope  of  bringing  about  the  overthrow  of  the 
existing  Government.'2  The  Earl's  connection  with 
the  commission,  which  was  from  the  first,  as  I 
have  said,  but  nominal,  soon  came  to  an  end 
entirely;  and  that  he  was  no  party  to  the  transac 
tions  carried  on  is  shown  by  a  letter  of  Sadler's, 
written  from  Berwick  a  few  days  after  he  had  entered 
on  his  mission,  in  which  he  tells  Sir  William  Cecil 
that  "  he  intends  to  take  the  assistance  of  Sir  James 
Croft  in  preference  to  that  of  Sir  Henry  Percy,  or 
the  Earl  of  Northumberland  :  that  he  thinks  the 
former  not  in  any  wise  comparable  to  Croft,  and 
the  latter  very  unmeet  for  the  charge  committed 
to  him."3 

To  have  been  thought  "  unmeet "  by  an  un 
scrupulous  agent  of  Elizabeth's,  need  certainly  be 
taken  as  no  blame  in  our  eyes ;  and  it  is  worth 
remarking  that,  at  the  time  referred  to,  Sir  Henry 
Percy,  whom  Sadler  seems  to  have  considered  less 
"  unmeet  "  than  his  brother,  the  Earl,  had  already  so 
far  abandoned  his  religion  as  to  let  himself  be  used 

1  On  August  8,  the  Queen  despatched  to  Sadler  £3,000  in  gold, 
with   which  secretly  "he  may   reward  any   manner  of  person    in 
Scotland  with  such  sums  of  money  as  he  shall  think  meet."  (Foreign 
Calendar,  August  6  and  8,  1559.) 

2  Lingard,  vi.  34. 

3  Scottish  Calendar,  August  29,  1559. 


i24     BB-  THOMAS  PERCY  AND  THOMAS  PLUMTREE 

by  Cecil  as  a  medium  of  communication  with  John 
Knox.  The  understanding  which  already  existed 
between  Sir  Henry  and  the  Scotch  heresiarch,  is 
shown  by  a  letter  of  the  latter,  written  on  July  the 
ist,  in  which  he  requires  such  friendship  from  Sir 
Henry  "that  there  maybe  conference  and  knowledge 
from  time  to  time  between  the  faithful  (i.e.,  the 
Protestants)  of  both  realms."  l 

His  brother's  apostasy  must  have  been  one  of 
the  sorest  trials  of  the  Earl ;  and  it  was  not  till 
several  years  later,  that  Sir  Henry  was  brought  back 
to  the  Faith,  when  he  atoned  for  his  past  infidelity 
by  the  patient  endurance  of  much  persecution. 

It  was  not  long  before  Northumberland  was 
driven  by  the  mistrust  of  the  Government  and  the 
opposition  of  his  own  colleagues  in  the  office  to 
resign  the  Wardenship  of  the  Marches.  He  then 
-retired  to  the  south,  and  during  the  next  few  years 
lived  much  at  his  Sussex  residence  at  Petworth. 
Though  he  still  enjoyed,  at  all  events  externally,  the 
favour  of  the  Queen,  who  in  1563  bestowed  on  him 
the  Order  of  the  Garter,  indications  are  not  wanting 
that  in  consequence  of  his  well-known  attachment 
to  the  ancient  Faith,  he  was  at  this  time  kept  more 
or  less  under  surveillance,  and  perhaps  occasionally 
restricted  in  his  movements.  Thus  in  the  May  of 
1565,  Elizabeth's  agent  in  Scotland  wrote  to  Lord 
Leicester,  praying  that  "  the  Earl  of  Northumber 
land  be  stayed  in  London.  From  all  I  hear  it  is 
very  necessary.  The  Papists  in  these  parts  do  stir 
themselves."  ; 

1  Scottish  Calendar,  July  i  and  August  4,  1559.      '2  Ibid.  May  n,  1565. 


BB.  THOMAS  PERCY  AND  THOMAS  PLUMTREE     125 

In  like  manner  the  Spanish  Ambassador  in 
London  is  found  writing  to  his  Sovereign  in  April, 
1566  (namely,  three  years  and  a  half  before  the 
rising):  "  The  Earl  of  Northumberland  has  come. 
.  .  .  He  is  considered  very  Catholic." 

Facts  such  as  these,  joined  to  the  martyr's  own 
dying  declaration  that  he  had  held  the  Catholic 
Faith  "  from  his  earliest  years "  even  to  that 
day,  are  inconsistent  with  any  idea  of  his  having 
ever  really  fallen  away  from  his  religion  :  and  yet 
it  would  seem,  from  an  expression  used  by  him 
during  his  imprisonment,  that  he  must  at  one  time 
have  failed  in  some  way  in  a  right  profession  of  it. 

One  of  the  questions  put  to  him  when  examined, 
was  :  "  Were  you  reconciled  to  the  Church  of  Rome 
before  you  did  enter  into  the  rebellion  ?  and  by 
whom  ? "  To  this  the  Earl  replied :  "  I  was 
reconciled  by  one  Master  Copley  two  years  or 
more  before  our  stir:"  adding,  in  answer  to  a 
further  question,  that  the  said  Master  Copley 
"hath  no  certain  abiding,  but  was  sometimes  in 
Lancashire  and  sometimes  elsewhere. "! 

If  "  reconciliation  "  is  to  be  understood  here  in 
its  usual  sense,  something  more  would  seem  to  be 
implied  than  an  ordinary  sacramental  absolution ; 
and  in  those  times  of  special  trial,  without  re 
nouncing  their  religion,  Catholics  were  sometimes 
led  through  ignorance  or  weakness  into  unlawful 

1  Spanish  Calendar,  April  29,  1566.  Guzman  de  Silva  to  King 
Philip  II. 

~  Sir  Cuthbert  Sharpe,  Memorials  of  the  Rebellion  of  1569, 
pp.  204—213. 


126  BB.  THOMAS  PERCY  AND  THOMAS  PLUMTREE 

acts,  which  afterwards  gave  just  trouble  to  their  con 
sciences.  We  know  for  instance  how  many  in  the 
first  years  of  Elizabeth  endeavoured  to  escape  the 
penalties  of  non-attendance  at  the  Protestant 
service  by  consenting  to  be  present  at  it,  though 
in  a  merely  external  manner ;  and  it  may  be  that 
to  some  such  weakness  Northumberland  had  at  one 
time  yielded.  If  so,  however,  we  have  no  other 
proof  of  it  than  his  reply,  as  above  given,  the  exact 
sense  of  which  is  not  altogether  clear.  On  the 
other  hand,  his  public  acts,  as  far  as  they  are 
recorded,  display  no  sign  of  weakness;  and  in  each 
of  the  two  Parliaments  which  he  was  able  to  attend 
we  find  him  making  a  courageous  opposition  to  the 
persecuting  measures  which  they  passed. 

The  second  Parliament  of  Queen  Elizabeth  met 
in  1563,  and  sat  from  January  the  nth  to  April 
the  loth  ;  the  Earl  of  Northumberland  being  present 
at  most  of  the  sittings  of  the  House  of  Lords.  By 
the  Act  of  1559,  the  obligation  of  taking  the  Oath 
of  the  Queen's  Supremacy  had  been  imposed  only 
on  certain  classes  of  her  subjects ;  but  in  the 
Parliament  of  1563  a  further  Act  was  passed 
requiring  it  of  all,  who  should  either  have  said,  or 
heard  Mass;  thus  extending  it,  says  Lingard,  "to 
the  whole  Catholic  population  of  the  realm.*'  To 
all  such,  moreover,  the  oath,  if  at  first  refused,  was 
to  be  tendered  again  a  second  time ;  the  penalty 
of  a  second  refusal  being  death  as  in  cases  of  high 
treason.  Against  the  passing  of  this  cruel  measure 
our  good  Earl  spoke  boldly  in  the  House  of  Lords. 
He  said  (wrote  the  Spanish  Ambassador  on  January 


BB.  THOMAS  PERCY  AND  THOMAS  PLUMTREE     127 

the  2/th  of  the  same  year)  "  that  the  heretics  should 
be  satisfied  to  enjoy  the  bishoprics  and  benefits  of 
the  others  without  wishing  to  cut  off  their  heads 
as  well.  He  said  when  they  had  beheaded  the 
clergy  they  would  claim  to  do  the  same  by  the  lay 
nobles,  and  he  was  moved  by  his  conscience  to 
say  that  he  \vas  of  opinion  that  so  rigorous 
an  Act  should  not  be  passed."1  In  spite  of  this, 
however,  and  of  a  vigorous  speech  in  the  same 
sense  by  Lord  Montague,  the  Bill  was  passed  on 
March  the  3rd. 

Parliament  did  not  again  assemble  until  the 
autumn  of  1566  ;  in  the  November  of  which  year— 
in  spite  of  the  counter-votes  of  Northumberland 
and  ten  other  peers — the  Lords  passed  an  Act 
to  remedy  the  defective  consecration  of  the  first 
Protestant  Bishops,  declaring  it  to  have  been 
"good,  lawful,  and  perfect."  It  ought,  however, 
especially  to  be  observed  that,  though  the  Catholic 
opponents  of  this  measure  could  not  hinder  it  from 
passing,  they  did  nevertheless  get  a  proviso  added 
to  it  refusing  confirmation  to  any  of  the  new-made 
Bishops'  acts  affecting  either  life  or  property.  In 
this  way  they  saved  the  life  of  the  brave  Bishop 
Bonner,  to  whom  in  prison  the  Protestant  Bishop 
Horn  of  Winchester  had  tried  to  administer  the 
Oath  of  Supremacy,  in  order  thereby  to  get  him 
condemned  to  death.  It  was,  in  fact,  principally 
in  order  to  obtain  "good  Bishop  Bonner's "  con 
demnation  (wrote  the  Spanish  Ambassador)  that 

i  Spanish  Calendar.      Bishop  Quadra  to  King  Philip  II.,  January 
27-  1563- 


128     BB.  THOMAS  PERCY  AND  THOMAS  PLUMTREE 

the  Protestant  prelates  had  asked  for  a  confirmation 
of  their  acts.1 

When  Parliament  next  met  in  1571  the  Earl  of 
Northumberland  was  a  prisoner  in  Scotland,  having 
fled  thither  on 'the  failure  of  the  Northern  Rising,  of 
which  we  must  now  try  to  trace  the  origin. 

The  troubles  of  the  unhappy  Mary  Queen  of 
Scots — whose  subjects,  incited  by  the  continual 
intrigues  of  Elizabeth  and  Cecil,  had  openly  rebelled 
against  her — were  naturally  viewed  with  the  liveliest 
sympathy  by  the  Catholics  of  England,  for  they 
placed  in  Queen  Mary,  as  heiress  to  the  English 
throne,  their  own  hopes  of  relief  from  persecution 
in  the  future.  Northumberland,  in  particular,  made 
no  secret  of  his  sympathy,  and  when,  in  the  May  of 
1568,  the  Scottish  Queen  was  forced  to  flee  from 
her  own  kingdom  and  seek  refuge  at  Carlisle,  the 
Earl  set  out  from  Topcliffe,  in  Yorkshire,  where  he 
was  staying  at  the  time,  to  do  what  he  could  for 
her  safe  and  honourable  entertainment.  His  views, 
however,  with  reference  to  the  Royal  fugitive,  were 
very  different  from  those  of  Elizabeth  and  her 
minions ;  and  his  demand  to  be  allowed  to  take 
charge  of  Mary  met  with  a  rude  refusal  from  the 
Deputy  Warden  of  the  Marches;  nor  were  either  he 
or  his  Countess  permitted  to  have  speech  with  the 
captive  Queen,  excepting  once  in  presence  of  some 
others.  The  Earl  found  means,  however,  of  occasion 
ally  communicating  with  her  during  her  confinement 
in  the  course  of  the  next  year  at  Bolton  and  at 

1  Spanish  Calendar.      Guzman  de   Silva  to  Philip  II.,  November 
ii,  1566. 


B B.THOMAS  PERCY  AND  THOMAS  PLUMTREE 


I2Q 


Tutbury;  and  he  himself,  in  his  answers  when 
examined,  tells  how  he  had  written  "  praying  her 
especially  to  regard  the  advancement  of  the  Catholic 
religion."  This,  in  fact,  more  than  any  mere  com 
passion  for  her  sufferings,  was,  he  makes  quite  plain, 
the  one  real  cause  of  his  supporting  her;  and  he 
adds  that,  when  the  idea  of  marrying  her  to  the 
Duke  of  Norfolk  had  been  mooted,  he  ''sent  her 
word  how  her  marriage  with  the  Duke  was  misliked, 
he  being  counted  a  Protestant.  If  she  ever  looked 
to  recover  her  estate,  it  must  be  by  the  advancing 
and  maintaining  of  the  Catholic  faith ;  for  there 
ought  to  be  no  halting  in  those  matters."1 

Meanwhile,  the  exercise  of  the  Catholic  religion 
had  been  becoming  day  by  day  more  difficult 
and  dangerous,  and  the  only  wonder  is  that  the 
ancient  Faith  contrived,  as  it  did,  still  to  keep  its 
hold  upon  the  people,  and  that  it  continued  for  so 
long  a  period,  and  particularly  in  the  northern 
counties,  to  be  yet  in  reality  the  religion  of  the  land. 
In  virtue  of  the  sacrilegious  and  unjust  Act  of 
Uniformity,  all  the  grand  old  churches  and  cathedrals 
with  which,  throughout  its  length  and  breadth,  the 
soil  of  England  had  been  covered  by  our  Catholic 
ancestors,  had  been  diverted  from  the  sacred  purpose 
to  which  they  had  been  originally  consecrated,  and 
had  been  given  over  during  the  last  eleven  years  to 
the  ministers  of  the  new  State-made  religion,  whose 
pretended  mission  was  derived,  not  from  the  Vicar  of 
our  Blessed  Lord,  but  only  from  the  Queen.  The 
crucifixes  and  the  images  of  our  Blessed  Lady  and 

1  Sharpe,  p.  192. 
J  II. 


1 3o     B B.THOMAS  PERCY  AND  THOMAS  PLUMTREE 

the  Saints  had  been  everywhere  torn  down  and 
broken,  on  the  senseless  plea  that  they  were  incen 
tives  to  idolatry ;  and  the  innumerable  altars,  on 
which  the  Holy  Sacrifice  had  been  daily  offered  up 
for  centuries,  had  been  overturned  and  desecrated  ; 
whilst  the  Holy  Mass  itself  might  now  no  more  be 
heard,  or  offered  up,  unless  in  the  safe  concealment 
of  some  vault  or  secret  chamber.  The  priests  too, 
who,  remaining  faithful  to  their  trust,  had  refused  to 
take  the  oath  affirming  the  Royal  Supremacy  in 
matters  of  religion — an  oath  which,  of  course,  no 
Catholic  could  take  without  apostasy— had  been 
ruthlessly  ejected  from  their  cures,  turned  adrift  to 
live  how  and  where  they  could,  and  liable,  if  found 
to  be  still  exercising  their  priestly  office,  to  immediate 
seizure  and  imprisonment ;  or,  if  the  offence  were 
often  repeated,  to  the  punishment  of  death.  Nor 
were  the  lay  people  free  to  refuse  the  ministra 
tions  of  the  new-fangled  clergy,  but  were  made 
liable  to  a  fine  each  time  they  were  absent  from 
their  services  on  a  Sunday. 

Nevertheless,  although  the  ministers  of  the  new 
religion  were  thus  supported  by  the  whole  power  of 
the  law,  their  own  admissions  supply  us  with  the 
clearest  evidence  of  the  extreme  difficulty  which  they 
experienced  in  thrusting  the  new  doctrines  on  the 
people.  Indeed,  if  the  whole  subject  were  not  so 
supremely  sad,  the  story  of  the  difficulties  encoun 
tered  by  these  so-called  Bishops  (on  whom  Elizabeth 
had  astutely  conferred  the  titles  of  the  ancient  sees), 
in  their  attempts  to  execute  their  office,  would  be 
highly  entertaining.  Thus,  to  take  a  few  examples 


BB.  THOMAS  PERCY  AND  THOMAS  PLUMTREE     131 


out  of  many:  in  the  August  of  1561,  the  State 
Papers  show  us  Scory,  the  new  Bishop  of  Hereford, 
indignantly  complaining  to  Cecil,  that  "  a  number  of 
Popish  priests,  who  had  been  driven  out  of  Exeter 
and  elsewhere,  had  been  received  and  feasted  in  the 
streets,  with  torch-lights!  '?1 

In   the    same   year,    the   newly-made   Bishop   of 
Carlisle,  in  reporting  the  state  of  his  diocese  to  the 
same  official,  writes :  "  The  priests  are  wicked  imps  of 
Antichrist,  for  the  most  part  ignorant  and  stubborn, 
and    past   measure  false  and   subtle  ; "  -  and  in  the 
following  January,  the  same  prelate  is  found  again 
complaining  of  the  "  great  prevalence  of  Popery  in 
his  diocese,"  and  announcing  in  dismay  that "  Articles 
of  Religion  in  French  are  being  circulated  among  the 
disaffected  Papists  of  the  North."3     As  to  Durham, 
Dr.  Pilkington  could  find  no  other  way  of  describing 
his  experiences  than  by  saying  that,  "  Like  St.  Paul, 
he  has  to  fight  with  beasts  at  Ephesus ;  " 4  and  even  as 
late  as  1576,  Dr.  Barnes,  his  successor,  in  writing  of 
his    difficulties    with   "the    reconciling    priests    and 
massers"  of  Northumberland,   "whereof  there  was 
store,"  actually  goes  on  to  call  Durham  an  "Augia 
stabulum,  whose  stink  is  grievous  in  the  nose  of  God 
and  men,  and  which  to  purge  far  passeth  Hercules1 
labours."5 

Lastly,  to  pass  to  Yorkshire  (for  our  present 
interest  is  with  the  northern  counties),  the  words  of 
Sir  Ralph  Sadler  have  repeatedly  been  quoted,  in 
which,  when  the  Rising  we  are  now  to  speak  of  had 

1  Domestic  Calendar,  1547 — 158°.  P-  183. 

2  Ibid.  p.  180.  a  Ibid.  p.  ig2.    '         *  Ibid.  p.  187. 

5  Surtees  Society,  1850.     Proceedings  of  B is/top  Barnes,  Preface 


i32     BB.  THOMAS  PERCY  AND  THOMAS  PLUMTREE 


begun,  he  writes  to  Sir  William  Cecil:  "There  are 
not  ten  gentlemen  in  all  this  country  that  favour  her 
(the  Queen's)  proceedings  in  religion.  The  common 
people  are  ignorant,  superstitious,  and  altogether 
blinded  with  the  old  Popish  doctrine,  and  therefore  so 
favour  the  cause  which  the  rebels  make  the  colour 
of  their  rebellion.  ...  No  doubt  all  this  country  had 
wholly  rebelled,  if  at  the  beginning  my  Lord  Lieu 
tenant  had  not  wisely  and  stoutly  handled  the 
matter."1  It  is  hardly  necessary  to  explain  that,  in 
the  mouths  of  men  such  as  Sadler  and  the  Protestant 
Bishops,  the  terms  "  ignorance  "  and  "  superstition  " 
were  but  synonyms  for  adherence  to  the  ancient 
Catholic  belief. 

There  would  be  no  difficulty  in  multiplying  such 
quotations,  but  the  above  seem  sufficient  to  prove 
the  tenacity  with  which,  in  spite  of  every  obstacle, 
the  good  people  of  the  North  retained  their  affection 
for  the  ancient  Faith  ;  and  this  fact  explains  the 
readiness  with  which— like  their  fathers  in  the 
Pilgrimage  of  Grace— many  of  them  flocked  to  join 
the  banners  of  the  Earls  of  Northumberland  and 
Westmoreland,  when,  in  1569,  in  the  beginning  of 
Elizabeth's  twelfth  year,  a  brave,  though  in  reality 
ill-judged,  attempt  was  led  by  these  two  noblemen, 
to  obtain  the  restoration  of  the  Catholic  religion. 

Unwise  as  the  Rising  of  the  North  was,  and 
difficult  to  defend  when  measured  by  its  prospects 
of  success,  no  one  can  set  himself  to  an  impartial 
study  of  its  history  without  feeling  that  the  movement 

1  Domestic  Calendar,  Addenda,  December  6,  1569. 


BB.  THOMAS  PERCY  AND  THOMAS  PLUMTREE     135 

originated  solely  and  entirely  from  the  desire  of  the 
actors  to  bring  about  the  restoration  of  the  Catholic 
religion,  the  practice  of  which  had  become  impos 
sible  under  the  persecuting  policy  of  Elizabeth  and 
of  her  Chief  Secretary,  Sir  William  Cecil.  This  is 
proved  conclusively,  not  only  by  the  proclamations 
of  its  leaders  and  by  the  whole  conduct  of  those 
that  took  part  in  the  movement,  but  even  still  more 
clearly  by  the  admissions  of  their  adversaries 
themselves. 

In  the  spring  of  the  year  1569,  Dr.  Nicholas 
Morton,  a  former  Prebendary  of  York  Minster,  had 
been  sent  by  the  Pope  as  Apostolic  Penitentiary  to 
the  northern  counties,  for  the  purpose  of  imparting 
to  the  persecuted  priests  the  faculties  which  they 
required,  the  surviving  Bishops  being  all  imprisoned. 
He  was  related  to  two  of  the  Yorkshire  families 
afterwards  most  prominent  in  the  Rising,  the 
Nortons  and  the  Markenfields,  whose  estates  lay 
near  to  Ripon  ;  and  was  declared  by  Francis 
Norton  to  have  been  "  the  most  earnest  mover 
of  the  rebellion."  The  Earl  of  Northumberland, 
who  was  then  residing  at  his  Yorkshire  seat  of 
Topcliffe,  was  amongst  those  whom  Dr.  Morton 
visited  ;  and  in  a  letter  written  afterwards  to  Lord 
Burghleigh  the  same  Francis  Norton  tells  how  the 
Earl  had  sent  for  his  father,  old  Mr.  Richard 
Norton,  and  declared  to  him  "  the  great  grief  he 
had  for  that  they  all  lived  out  of  the  laws  of  the 
Catholic  Church,  for  the  restitution  whereof  he 
would  willingly  spend  his  life."1  Sander,  moreover, 
1  Sharpe,  p.  281. 


i34     BB.  THOMAS  PERCY  AND  THOMAS  PLUMTREE 

in  speaking  of  the  conferences  held  between  the 
leaders  before  the  actual  outbreak,  relates  that 
when  certain  persons  urged  the  policy  of  putting 
forward  some  other  pretext  for  the  Rising  rather 
than  the  Catholic  faith,  the  Earl  of  Northumberland 
exclaimed  :  "  I  neither  know  of  nor  acknowledge 
any  other,  for  we  are  seeking,  I  imagine,  the  glory 
not  of  men  but  God."1 

If  the  liberation  of  Mary  Queen  of  Scots  from 
her  unjust  captivity  entered  into  the  designs  of 
the  leaders  of  the  Rising,  it  was  because  they  con 
sidered  the  freedom  of  the  Catholic  heiress  to 
the  English  throne  an  indispensable  condition  for 
securing  their  religious  liberty.  "  In  the  having 
of  her,"  says  the  Earl  in  his  answers  to  the  Privy 
Council,  "  we  hoped  thereby  to  have  some  reforma 
tion  in  religion,  or  at  the  least,  some  sufferance  for 
men  to  use  their  conscience  as  they  were  disposed  ; 
and  also  the  freedom  of  her  whom  we  accounted 
the  second  person  and  right  heir  apparent."' 

If  we  turn,  moreover,  to  the  letters  of  the  Earl 
of  Sussex,  Lord  President  of  the  Council  of  the 
North,  written  from  York  to  Sir  William  Cecil  and 
to  the  Queen  herself  at  the  first  beginning  of  the 
outbreak,  we  find  him  again  and  again  asserting 
religion  as  its  cause.  "  These  Earls  and  their  con 
federates  will  do  what  they  can  for  the  cause  of 
religion,  and  therefore  this  matter  should  not  be 
dallied  with."  "They  have  been  .  .  .  drawn  on 
...  to  what  was  intended  by  those  wicked  coun 
sellors  at  the  beginning.  ...  I  mean  the  cause 

1  Bridgewater's  Concertatio,  fol.  46.  '2  Sharpe,  p.  193. 


BB.  THOMAS  PERCY  AND  THOMAS  PLUMTREE     135 


of  religion."  And  a  few  days  later,  "  The  people 
like  so  well  their  cause  of  religion  that  they  flock 
to  them  in  all  places  where  they  come."1 

Other  similar  expressions  from  the  despatches 
of  Government  and  other  officials,  and  even  from 
a  letter  of  Elizabeth  herself,  will  be  quoted  later ; 
but  the  above  appear  sufficiently  to  show  how  clearly 
it  was  understood  on  all  sides  that  the  desire  to 
restore  the  Catholic  religion  was  the  actuating 
motive  of  the  Rising. 

The  early  autumn  was  spent  by  the  northern 
Catholic  gentry  in  holding  frequent  consultations. 
Northumberland's  reluctance  to  take  action  was 
due,  as  he  says  in  his  answers,  partly  to  his 
"  finding  the  matter  apparently  without  all  likeli 
hood  of  success,"  and  therefore  "likely  to  breed 
bloodshed  "  to  no  purpose  ;  and  partly  to  his  strong 
sense  of  his  obligation  to  remain  submissive  to  his 
Sovereign,  so  long  as  the  fact  of  her  excom 
munication  should  remain  uncertain.  His  doubts 
on  these  two  points  caused  him  much  painful 
hesitation,  and  made  him  the  last  of  all  the  leaders 
to  give  his  sanction  to  the  enterprise ;  and  even 
then  he  only  yielded  under  pressure  which  was 
little  short  of  violence,  and  whilst  still  maintaining 
his  loyalty  to  the  person  of  the  Queen  herself.  - 

To  solve  their  doubts  as  to  the  lawfulness  of 
their  contemplated  Rising,  the  two  Earls,  on  the  yth 

1  Domestic  Calendar,  Addenda,  1566 — 1579,  pp.  103,  108,  112. 

*  The  loyalty  of  the  Earl's  sentiments  towards  the  Queen  is 
shown  by  a  letter  which  he  wrote  to  her  on  the  day  before  the 
outbreak.  (Sharpe,  p.  320.) 


136     BB.  THOMAS  PERCY  AND  THOMAS  PLUMTREE 

of  November,  1569,  addressed  a  joint  letter  to  Pope 
St.  Pius  V.,  asking  for  advice  and  help.  It  is  true 
that  they  were  driven  into  taking  action  long  before 
the  Holy  Father's  answer  could  arrive ;  and  that, 
when  it  was  given,  the  movement  already  had  been 
crushed.  Still  the  Pope's  letter  has  a  very  special 
interest,  since  apparently  it  justifies  completely  the 
enterprise  looked  at  in  itself.  It  is  given  in  full 
by  the  continuator  of  Baronius,  and  it  should  be 
noticed  that  it  was  dated  the  22nd  of  February,  1570, 
that  is,  three  days  before  the  famous  Bull  by  which 
Elizabeth  was  excommunicated.  Clearly  Dr.  Morton 
had  not  been  wrong  in  representing  her  as  con 
sidered  by  the  Pope  to  be  already  practically 
excommunicated,  and  deprived  of  her  right  of 
sovereignty.1 

In  replying  to  the  letter  of  the  Earls,  dated 
November  the  7th  (which  he  had  received,  he  says, 
on  February  the  i6th),  the  Pontiff  wrote  as  follows : 

"  Our  Lord  Jesus  Christ  .  .  .  has  inspired  you 
with  this  resolution  (which  is  worthy  of  your  zeal 
for  the  Catholic  faith),  to  endeavour,  by  delivering 
yourselves  and  your  kingdom  from  a  woman's 
passion,  to  restore  it  to  its  ancient  obedience  to 
this  holy  Roman  See  .  .  .  and  if,  in  maintaining 
the  Catholic  faith  and  the  authority  of  this  Holy 
See,  even  death  should  be  encountered  by  you  and 
your  blood  should  be  shed,  it  is  far  better  for  the 
confession  of  God's  truth  to  pass  quickly  to  eternal 

1  "  Master  Copley  and  another  priest  consulted  by  the  leaders, 
thought  that  the  formal  excommunication  ought  to  be  waited  for 
before  rising."  (Sharpe,  p.  204.  Answers  of  the  Earl.) 


BB.  THOMAS  PERCY  AND  THOMAS  PLUMTREE     137 

life  by  the  short  road  of  a  glorious  death,  than  to 
live  on  in  shame  and  ignominy,  to  the  loss  of  your 
souls,  in  bondage  to  a  feeble  woman's  passion.  For 
think  not,  beloved  sons  in  Christ,  that  those 
Bishops,  or  other  leading  Catholics  (pnncipibns 
Catholicis)  of  your  country  whom  you  mention,  have 
made  an  unhappy  end  ;  who,  for  their  refusal  to 
give  up  their  confession  of  the  Catholic  faith,  have 
been  either  cast  into  prisons,  or  unjustly  visited 
with  other  penalties.  For  their  constancy,  which 
has  been  encouraged  by  the  example  (still,  as  we 
believe,  effective)  of  the  blessed  Thomas  Archbishop 
of  Canterbury,  can  be  praised  by  none  as  much  as 
it  deserves.  Imitating  this  same  constancy  your 
selves,  be  brave  and  firm  in  your  resolve  !  and 
abandon  not  your  undertaking  through  fear  or 
threat  of  any  dangers."1 

A  few  days  after  the  two  Earls  had  despatched 
their  letter  to  the  Pope,  they  were  startled  by  a 
sudden  summons  to  present  themselves  before  the 
Queen,  who  had  received  information  of  their  move 
ment.  On  this  they  held  a  last  consultation  with 
their  chief  supporters  at  Brancepeth  Castle,  the 
residence  of  Lord  Westmoreland,  where,  though 
almost  wrung  from  him  by  force,  Northumberland's 
agreement  to  the  Rising  was  at  last  obtained.2 
Accordingly,  setting  out  from  Brancepeth  with 

1  Laderchi,  Baronii  Annales,ad.  an.  1570,  §384. 

-  The  following  is  Northumberland's  own  account  of  this 
Council,  held  at  Brancepeth,  as  abridged  from  his  answers  on 
examination  :  "My  Lord  (of  Westmoreland),  his  uncles,  old  Norton, 
and  Markenfield  were  earnest  to  proceed.  Francis  Norton,  John 


i33     BB.  THOMAS  PERCY  AND  THOMAS  PLUMTREE 

such  forces  as  could  hastily  be  gathered,  the  two 
Earls  made  a  public  entry  into  Durham  on  the 
afternoon  of  November  the  i4th,  amidst  the  accla 
mations  of  the  people.  Their  first  care  on  entering 
was  to  proceed  to  the  Cathedral  and  give  directions 
for  its  immediate  restoration  to  Catholic  worship, 
the  communion  -  table  and  Protestant  books  of 
service  being  carried  out  and  publicly  destroyed ; 
and  this  was  the  signal  for  St.  Cuthbert's  city  once 
more  to  assume  its  old  appearance,  and  openly  show 
itself  the  Catholic  town  it  had  always  remained  at 
heart.  During  the  short  month  the  Rising  lasted 
we  read  of  altars  rebuilt  in  nearly  all  the  churches 
there,  and  of  Masses  heard  by  crowded  congre 
gations;  of  holy  water  carried  to  the  people's  houses, 
and  of  processions  headed  by  the  cross ;  and,  best 

Swinburne,  myself,  and  others  thought  it  impossible ;  so  we  broke 
up  and  departed,  every  man  to  provide  for  himself.  Lady  West 
moreland,  hearing  this,  cried  out,  weeping  bitterly,  that  we  and 
our  country  were  shamed  for  ever,  and  that  we  must  seek  holes  to 
creep  into.  Some  departed,  and  I  wished  to  go,  but  my  Lord's 
uncles  and  others  were  so  importunate  that  I  and  my  Lord  should 
not  sunder,  or  we  should  cast  ourselves  away,  that  I  remained  a 
day  or  two.  If  any  of  us  had  provided  a  ship,  we  should  have  been 
glad ;  but  when  I  found  I  could  not  get  away  I  agreed  to  rise  with 
them,  and  promised  to  go  and  raise  my  force  in  Northumberland, 
to  join  Lord  Westmoreland  upon  the  Tyne.  They  misliked  my 
departing,  but  I  told  them  I  must  go,  unless  I  went  under  my  Lord's 
standard  without  force  of  my  own.  I  had  got  away  an  arrow-shot, 
when  the  Nortons  and  others  came  to  persuade  me  to  return.  Being 
desperately  urged,  I  returned,  and  met  my  Lord  riding  homeward, 
I  thought,  but  he  passed  towards  Durham.  When  I  understood 
they  would  begin  the  matter  there,  I  would  no  further,  and  willed 
my  Lord  to  return  home  and  take  better  advice.  I  walked  up  and 
down  till  sunset,  and  then  they  forced  me  to  go."  (Domestic  Calendar, 
Addenda,  June  13,  1572.) 


BB.  THOMAS  PERCY  AND  THOMAS  PLUMTREE     139 

of  all,  of  thousands  kneeling  at  the  feet  of  priests 
commissioned  by  Christ's  Vicar,  to  receive  absolution 
from  censure  and  from  sin. 

On  this  first  day  of  the  Rising  the  Earls  stayed 
no  longer  in  Durham  than  was  needed  for  the  pro 
clamation  of  their  enterprise ;  and  returning  to 
Brancepeth  for  the  night,  they  set  out  next  day  with 
their  army  southwards.  But  this  public  restoration 
of  the  Catholic  religion  in  a  city  such  as  Durham, 
in  the  beginning  of  Elizabeth's  twelfth  year,  is  an 
event  so  striking  as  to  deserve  more  attention  than 
it  has  usually  received.  Let  us  then  interrupt  the 
narrative  to  supply  some  details  regarding  it  not 
noticed  by  most  writers. 

The  following  account  of  the  proceedings  in 
Durham  on  November  the  I4th,  is  contained  in  a 
letter  to  the  Earl  of  Sussex  from  Sir  George  Bowes, 
then  in  command  of  Barnard  Castle,  and  is  inter 
esting  from  the  fact  of  its  having  been  written  on 
the  following  day :  "  The  doings  of  the  Earls  of 
Westmoreland  and  Northumberland.  Yesterday, 
at  four  of  the  clock  in  the  afternoon,  the  said  Earls, 
accompanied  with  Richard  Norton,  Francis,  his 
son,  with  divers  other  of  his  said  sons ;  Christopher 
Nevill,  Cuthbert  Nevill,  uncles  of  the  said  Earl  of 
Westmoreland  ;  and  Thomas  Markenfield,  with 
others  to  the  number  of  three  [score]  horsemen 
armed  in  corselets  and  coats  of  plates,  with  spears, 
arquebuses,  and  daggers,  entered  the  Minster  there, 
and  there  took  all  the  books  but  one,  and  them  and 
the  communion-table  defaced,  rent,  and  broke  in 
pieces.  And  after  made  a  proclamation  in  the 


1 4o     BB.  THOMAS  PERCY  AND  THOMAS  PLUMTREE 

Queen's  name  that  no  man,  before  their  pleasure 
known,  should  use  any  service ;  and  calling  the 
citizens  before  them,  told  them  how  they  had  done 
nothing  but  that  they  would  avow,  and  was  after 
the  Queen's  proceedings.  And  so  tarrying  about 
the  space  of  one  hour  they  departed,  putting  a 
watch  of  twenty-four  townsmen  to  the  town,  which 
took  a  servant  of  mine,  which  I  sent  thither,  and 
him  carried  to  his  lodging,  and  there  he  was  kept 
till  this  morning,  and  so  came  away.  In  haste  at 
Barnard  Castle,  November  the  I5th,  at  twelve  of 
the  clock,  1569." 

The  fact  of  a  watch  of  twenty-four  of  their  own 
fellow-townsmen  being  thought  by  the  Earls  a  suffi 
cient  force  to  guard  the  city,  shows  clearly  how 
entirely  they  had  the  sympathy  of  the  citizens  of 
Durham  in  their  proceedings  at  the  Minster;  and, 
in  fact,  we  have  the  express  declaration  of  the  Earl 
of  Sussex,  made  in  answer  to  questions  from  the 
Queen  as  to  the  "  Earls'  outrageous  doings  at 
Durham,"  that  "  there  was  no  resistance  made,  nor 
any  mislike  of  their  doings."  He  says  too  in  another 
letter :  "  They  pay  for  all  they  take,  and  suffer  no 
spoil.  At  Durham  a  man  of  the  Earls'  took  a  horse 
of  the  Dean's  out  of  his  stable,  but  the  horse  was 
restored  and  the  taker  punished."1  Indeed,  the  whole 
conduct  of  the  people  at  this  time  showed  that  they 
were  no  mere  passive  spectators  of  the  attempt  to 
give  back  to  them  the  means  of  practising  again 
their  ancient  Faith,  but  were  actual  and  glad  co- 
operators  in  it :  and  yet  it  must  not  be  forgotten 
1  Domestic  Calendar,  Addenda,  pp.  119,  120. 


BB.  THOMAS  PERCY  AND  THOMAS  PLUMTREE     141 

that  for  the  eleven  years  preceding  they  had  been 
entirely  debarred  from  attending  (unless  occasionally 
by  stealth)  either  Mass  or  Sacraments ;  and  that 
every  church  and  chapel  in  the  country  had  been 
for  the  same  space  of  time  in  the  hands  of  ministers, 
who,  whether  priests  or  not  by  ordination,  had  all 
conformed  to  the  new  heresy,  and  who  were  for 
the  most  part  animated  by  a  virulent  hatred  of 
everything  that  savoured  of  the  old  religion,  attend 
ance  at  their  own  services  being,  moreover,  enforced 
by  rigorous  penalties.  Of  these,  James  Pilkington 
("the  late  supposed  Bishop,"  as  one  of  the  Earls' 
proclamations  described  him1)  had  openly  praised 
God  for  having  kept  him  from  the  "  filthiness  "  of 
the  religion  and  orders  of  his  predecessor,  Cuthbert 
Tunstall ; 2  whilst  the  fanatical  Dean  Whittingham 
(who  then  presided  over  the  Cathedral,  and  who 
owed  his  only  orders  to  the  Calvinist  ministers  of 
Geneva3)  displayed  his  love  of  Catholicity  by  sacri 
legiously  rifling  the  tomb  of  Venerable  Bede,  whose 
relics,  some  say,  he  scattered  to  the  winds,4  and  by 
burning  the  corporal  cloth  of  St.  Cuthbert,  which 
had  been  upheld  by  the  monks  as  a  banner  at  the 
victory  of  Nevill's  Cross. 

As  to  the  eleven  Canons  who  then  occupied  the 
places  of  the  monks,  two  brothers  of  the  Bishop- 
John  and  Leonard  Pilkington — may  be  supposed  to 
have  shared  his  sentiments  ;  as  also  Swift,  his  Vicar- 

1  Sharpe,  p.  98. 
2  Bridget!  and  Knox,  Elizabeth  and  the  Catholic  Hierarchy,  p.  48. 

3  Estcourt,  Question  of  Anglican  Ordinations,  p.  149. 
4  Ada  Sanctorum,  Mali  27  (Acta  S.Bedce),  Edit.  Bollandists. 


i42  BB.  THOMAS  PERCY  AND  THOMAS  PLUMTREE 

General,  who  afterwards  presided  at  the  trials  for 
ecclesiastical  offences  which  followed  the  suppres 
sion  of  the  Rising ;  whilst  of  the  rest  it  is  enough 
to  say  that  all  of  them  had  been  appointed,  or  at 
least  confirmed  in  office,  by  Elizabeth ;  1  and  that 
(sad  to  tell)  no  less  than  three  amongst  them— 
Stephen  Marley  (last  Subprior),  Thomas  Spark,  and 
George  Cliff — were  apostate  monks,  who,  following 
no  principle  except  the  securing  of  their  worldly 
interests,  had  accepted  each  successive  change  that 
had  followed  the  suppression  of  their  monastery  in 
1541,  renouncing  their  Faith  again  finally  on  the 
accession  of  Elizabeth. 

The  first  two  of  these  ex-monks  were  probably 
in  1569  the  only  members  of  the  Chapter  who  had 
been  validly  ordained,  George  Cliff  having  appar 
ently  received  no  more  than  acolyte's  orders  from 
Bishop  Tunstall.2  Nearly  all  of  these  worthies 
seem  to  have  fled  from  Durham  on  its  occupation 
by  the  Earls,  since  a  memorial  of  Cecil's  is  found 
to  contain  the  following  item  under  the  heading  of 
"  Proceedings  for  the  suppression  of  the  Rising :  " 
"The  Bishop  and  Dean  of  Durham  and  all  ecclesi 
astical  persons  (to  be)  commanded  to  return  to  their 
charges."3  Most,  however,  of  the  more  subordinate 


1  One— John  Rudd— had  been  dispossessed  by  Mary.     See  Le 
Neve's  Fasti.     Hardy's  Edition. 

2  Surtees  Society,  1845.     Depositions  and  Ecclesiastical  Proceedings 
from  the  Courts  of  Durham,  p.   137.      Cliff  was  made  a   Canon    by 
Elizabeth. 

3  Most  of  the  details  which  follow  are  gathered  from  the  Reports 
of  the  trials  held  after  the  Rising,  published  by  the  Surtees  Society, 
Depositions,  &c.,  pp.  127,  seq. 


BB.  THOMAS  PERCY  AND  THOMAS  PLUMTREE     143 

officials  appear  without  reluctance  to  have  lent  their 
services  to  the  faithful  priests,  who,  as  long  as  the 
Rising  lasted,  were  allowed  to  take  undisturbed 
possession  both  of  the  Cathedral  and  the  other 
churches.  Of  these  priests  a  word  must  now  be 
said. 

In  virtue  of  special  faculties  received  from  Rome, 
the  chief  conduct  of  religious  matters  was  under 
taken  by  a  zealous  and  courageous  priest  named 
William  Holmes,  whose  memory  deserves  to  be 
rescued  from  the  oblivion  into  which  it  has  been 
allowed  to  fall.  So  conspicuous,  indeed,  was  the 
part  played  by  this  man  at  the  time  we  speak  of, 
that  it  won  for  him  from  his  enemies  the  name  of 
the  "  Pope's  Patriarch ;  "  and  we  find  him  so 
described  by  them  in  their  despatches.  Thus,  after 
the  suppression  of  the  Rising,  the  Attorney-General 
writes  to  Cecil :  "  One  Holmes,  thought  to  be  the 
Patriarch,  is  indicted  here  (Durham),  but  he  is  fled."1 

Mr.  Holmes  was  assisted  in  h'is  difficult  and 
dangerous  undertaking  by  three  other  priests,  named 
Robert  and  John  Peirson  and  John  Robson.  The 
first  of  these  is  spoken  of  by  one  of  the  witnesses 
at  the  trials  held  after  the  Rising  as  "  the  priest  of 
Brancepeth,"  and  he  appears  to  have  been  private 
chaplain  to  the  Earl  of  Westmoreland.  John  Peirson 
(perhaps  brother  to  the  former)  was  one  of  the 
Minor  Canons  of  the  Cathedral,  and  had  probably 
made  his  submission  to  the  Church  some  time 
before.  Whatever  may  have  been  his  history,  there 
was  evidently  no  question  raised  about  his  Orders, 

1  Domestic  Calendar,  Addenda,  April  i,  1570. 


I44 


BB.  THOMAS  PERCY  AND  THOMAS  PLUMTREE 


and  he  was  now  fully  reinstated  in  his  ministry,  for 
which  he  afterwards  suffered  deprivation  of  his 
benefice.1  It  was  in  his  chambers  on  the  Palace 
Green  that  Mr.  Holmes  appears  to  have  found  a 
lodging,  and  there  that  he  received  some  of  the 
conforming  clergy,  who  came  to  him  for  absolution 
from  their  censures.  As  to  Mr.  Robson,  no  particu 
lars  seem  discoverable,  beyond  the  frequent  mention 
of  him  in  the  trials  as  having  said  Mass  in  the 
Cathedral. 

The  burning  of  the  Protestant  service-books  at 
the  Cathedral  had  been  the  signal  for  similar  pro 
ceedings  at  the  other  churches;  those,  for  instance, 
of  St.  Oswald's — consisting  of  "a  Bible,  the  Book 
of  Comon  Praier,  the  Apologe,  and  the  Homilies  " 
—having  been  brought  down,  as  was  afterwards 
deposed,  and  "  byrnt  at  the  brig  ende."  2  The  next 
step  was  to  rebuild  a  certain  number  of  the  ruined 
altars,  on  which  the  Holy  Sacrifice  might  again 
be  offered  up,  and  to  replace  the  holy-water 
stoups  at  the  church  doors ;  and  the  laborious  way 
in  which  this  work  was  set  about  shows  how 
permanent  it  was  meant  to  be  by  its  directors- 
Mr.  Holmes  and  Mr.  Robert  Peirson — to  whom 
Lord  Westmoreland's  uncle,  Mr.  Cuthbert  Nevill, 
lent  his  powerful  support.  Orders  are  said  to  have 
been  given  by  them  for  the  rebuilding  of  no  less 
than  five  of  the  Cathedral  altars,  although  only  two 
seem  to  have  been  actually  erected.  These  were 
the  high  altar  in  the  choir  and  that  of  our  Blessed 
Lady  in  the  south  transept,  called  the  Lady 

1  Sharpe,  pp.  231,  260.  2  Probably  Elvet  Bridge. 


BB.  THOMAS  PERCY  AND  THOMAS  PLUMTREE     145 

Bolton  altar,  from  the  tithes  of  Bolton  chapelry  with 
which  it  had  been  anciently  endowed.  For  the  re- 
erection  of  these  altars  two  of  the  old  altar-stones, 
which  lay  buried  under  rubbish  (one  at  the  back  of 
the  house  of  Dr.  Swift,  Pilkington's  Vicar-General, 
and  the  other  "  in  the  cemetery  garth  "),  were  with 
considerable  trouble  got  back  into  the  Cathedral, 
three  days  being  spent  in  the  work  of  their  erection 
by  some  dozen  workmen,  some  of  whom  afterwards, 
when  put  on  their  trial,  had  the  weakness  to  profess 
themselves  sorry  for  their  "fault."  In  at  least 
four  also  of  the  other  churches— those,  namely,  of 
St.  Giles,  St.  Margaret,  St.  Nicholas,  and  St.  Oswald 
—the  altars  and  the  holy-water  fonts  were  restored 
in  the  same  way,  and  in  these  and  the  Cathedral  as 
many  Masses  as  the  small  number  of  priests  avail 
able  would  permit  began  now  to  be  celebrated,  to 
the  indescribable  delight  and  comfort  of  the  crowds 
that  flocked  to  hear  them. 

It  is  hard,  indeed,  to  realize  what  must  have 
been  the  joy  of  these  long  persecuted  Catholics,  to 
hear  their  well-loved  churches  once  more  echoing 
with  the  old  familiar  Latin  chants  of  Mass  and 
Vespers  ;  to  receive  again  in  the  old  way  holy  water1 
and  blessed  bread  ;  to  be  suffered  freely  (as  they 
quaintly  expressed  it)  to  "  occupy  their  gaudes  " 
[i.e.,  to  use  their  rosaries,  then  commonly  called 
gaudies],  as  the  widow,  Alice  Wilkinson,  declared 
upon  her  trial  "  many  thowsand  dyd ;  "  to  be  able 

i  Holy  water  was  also  taken  to  the  people  in  their  houses.  The 
parish  clerk  of  St.  Nicholas'  owned  to  having  "  willed  two  boys  to 
go  about  the  parish  with  holy  water." 

K  II. 


i46     BB.  THOMAS  PERCY  AND  THOMAS  PLUMTREE 

once  more  to  confess  their  sins  to  a  true  priest, 
who  had  power  from  Christ's  Vicar  to  forgive 
them  ;  and,  above  all,  to  feel  that  our  Blessed  Lord 
Himself  was  once  more  present  on  the  altar,  and 
could  be  received  as  their  food  in  Holy  Communion.1 
How  sad  to  think  that  all  this  was  but  to  last  so 
short  a  time ! 

The  first  High  Mass,  of  which  we  find  mention, 
was  sung  in  the  Cathedral  on  St.  Andrew's  Day 
(Wednesday,  November  the  soth),  by  Mr.  Robert 
Peirson,  the  choir  consisting  of  the  official  singing- 
men  of  the  Cathedral,  who  (whatever  their  weakness 
afterwards  at  the  trials)  seem  at  the  time,  at  all 
events,  to  have  been  troubled  by  no  other  scruple 
than  that  they  had  not  yet  been  "  reconciled  "  to  the 
Church;  on  which  point,  however,  they  were 
reassured  by  the  good  priest,  who  told  them  "that 

i  The  following  "Libel  against  hearers  of  Mass,"  Depositions 
and  Ecclesiastical  Proceedings,  &c.  (p.  131).  from  the  private  book  of 
Swift  the  Vicar-General,  is  instructive  as  showing  the  charges  on 
which  those  tried  before  that  worthy  in  the  ensuing  April  were 
indicted  •  "  That  the  said  A.B.,  about  St.  Andrew  last  past,  or  before 
fourteen  day  of  December,  1569,  by  the  instigation  of  the  divell 

.  did  unlawfullye  erecte  ...  or  cause  to  be  erected  ...  one 
alter  and  holie-water  stone,  ...  and  also  in  the  same  monthes  and 
yere  came  to  Masse,  Matens,  Evensonge,  procession,  and  like 
idolatrous  service,  thereat  knelling,  bowing,  knocking,  and  shewing 
such  like  reverent  gesture,  used  praying  on  beades,  confession  or 
shriving  to  a  prest,  toke  holy  water  and  holye  breade  ;  and  did  also 
then  and  ther  heare  false  and  erroniouse  doctrine  against  God  and 
the  Churche  of  England  preached  by  one  W.  Holmes  in  the  pulpit, 
and,  subjecting  himselve  to  the  same  doctryne  and  to  the  Pope,  did, 
among  other  like  wicked  people  knowen  to  him,  knell  down  and 
receive  absolution  under  Pope  Pius  name  [St.  Pius  V.],  in  Latin, 
false-terming  this  godly  estate  of  England  to  be  a  schisme  or 
heresy." 


BB.  THOMAS  PERCY  AND  THOMAS  PLUMTREE     147 

all  that  were  reconciled  in  heart "  might  take  part 
in  the  singing.1  The  "throng  of  people"  on  this 
occasion  is  declared  by  one  witness  to  have  been 
"  so  much  that  she  could  not  see  the  Mass,  and 
so  sat  down  in  the  low  end  of  the  same  church  and 
said  her  prayers." 

The  crown  was  put  to  the  work  of  Durham's 
reconciliation  to  the  Church  by  the  public  absolution 
of  the  people  from  their  censures,  pronounced  by 
Mr.  Holmes  on  December  the  4th,  which  happened 
that  year  to  be  the  Second  Sunday  of  Advent.  On 
that  day  Mr.  Holmes  mounted  the  Cathedral  pulpit, 
and  after  preaching  on  the  state  of  heresy  and  schism 
which  the  new  religion  had  established  in  the 
country,  exhorted  all  his  hearers  to  submit  once 
more  to  the  Catholic  Church,  and  to  kneel  down 
whilst  he  gave  them  absolution;  "affirming,"  as  a 
witness  at  the  trials  said,  "  that  he  had  authority 
to  reconcile  men  to  the  Church  of  Rome :  "  and 
"  thereupon  he  openly  reconciled  and  absolved  in 
the  Pope's  name  all  the  hearers  there."  Then, 
making  his  way  through  the  still  kneeling  crowd  to 
the  high  altar  in  the  choir,  he  offered  up  the  Holy 
Sacrifice,  with  what  feelings  of  joyful  gratitude  we 
can  well  imagine.  The  day  concluded  with  "  Even- 
songe  in  Latten,"  and  the  singing  of  the  anthem, 
Gaude  Virgo  Christipara,  in  honour  of  our  Blessed 
Lady. 

On  this  self-same  Sunday,  at  Bishop  Auckland 
(Pilkington's  own  place  of  residence),  a  similar  con 
soling  scene  was  enacted  in  St.  Helen's  Church  by 

1  Declaration  of  Thomas  \Vark.  (Ibid.  p.  153.) 


148    BB.  THOMAS  PERCY  AND  THOMAS  PLUMTREE 

a  priest  named  George  Whyte,  who,  "  coming  into 
the  church  (at  whose  procurement  the  deponent 
cannot  say),  went  into  the  pulpit,  where,  when  he 
had  preached  against  the  state  of  religion  established 
in  this  realm,  he  willed  them  to  revert  to  the  Church 
of  Rome ;  and  thereupon  read  absolution  in  the 
Pope's  name  to  all  the  people,  .  .  .  and  afterwards 
.  .  .  said  Mass  there."1 

How  general  the  Catholic  revival  was  throughout 
the  county  would  best  be  shown  by  a  list  of  the 
various  places  which  figure  in  the  depositions ;  but 
of  these  it  seems  enough  to  mention  Sedgefield,  Long 
Newton,  Lanchester,  Chester-le-Street,  Stockton, 
and  Monkwearmouth.  How  many  souls  were 
strengthened  by  it  to  bear  steadfastly  the  fearful 
troubles  which  were  so  soon  to  come  upon  them, 
can  be  known  to  God  alone ;  but  that  its  effects  did 
not  soon  pass  away  is  proved  by  the  angry  words, 
already  quoted,  of  Bishop  Barnes  —  Pilkington's 
successor — who  (in  writing  to  Lord  Burghley  six 
years  after  its  occurrence),  says  of  the  Church  of 
Durham  that  its  "  stinke  is  grievous  in  the  nose  of 
God  and  men,  and  which  to  purge  far  passeth 
Hercules'  labours." 

During  the  week  which  followed  the  public 
"  reconciliation "  of  the  people  of  Durham,  Mr. 
Holmes  seems  to  have  had  the  happiness  of  receiv 
ing  back  into  the  Church  most  of  the  Protestant 
ministers  yet  remaining  in  the  town.  Amongst 
these  were  no  less  than  five  of  the  Minor  Canons 
of  the  Cathedral,  who,  fortified  with  a  commen- 
1  Ibid.  p.  181. 


BB.  THOMAS  PERCY  AND  THOMAS  PLUM  TREE  149- 

datory  letter  from  Mr.  John  Peirson,  their  former 
comrade,  on  Friday,  December  the  gth,  went  out 
all  together  to  see  Mr.  Holmes  at  Staindrop — "who, 
besides  the  letter  of  Sir  John  Pierson's,  was  heartily 
moved  upon  their  submission  to  reconcile  them  from 
the  schism  ;  every  man  acknowledging  his  state  of 
life  for  eleven  years  last  past  privately  and  secretly, 
did  promise  that  they  would  now  turn  off  the  same." 
It  would  seem,  however,  that  Mr.  Holmes  was  not 
satisfied  with  regard  to  their  Orders,  at  all  events  as 
far  as  the  priesthood  was  concerned  ;  for  he  "was 
content  to  admit  them  as  deacons  to  minister  in  the 
church,  but  not  to  celebrate."1 

Unhappily,  most  of  these  somewhat  hastily 
converted  ministers  seemed  to  have  lacked  either 
the  sincerity  or  the  courage  to  stand  the  test  of 
persecution,  and  returned  again  to  their  old  ways. 
Still  a  brave  profession  of  his  Faith  was  made  by 
one  of  them,  John  Browne  by  name,  who,  in  addition 
to  his  minor  canonry,  held  also  the  curacy  of 
Witton  Gilbert.  No  less  than  three  witnesses  made 
depositions  afterwards  that,  in  the  chapel  of  Witton 
Gilbert,  on  a  Sunday  or  holiday  in  December  last, 
they  "  heard  Sir  John  Browne,  curate  there,  say 
openly  to  his  parishioners  after  this  sort :  '  I  have 
these  eleven  years  taught  you  the  wrong  way  in 
such  learning  as  is  against  my  soul  and  yours  both, 
and  I  am  sorry  and  ask  God  mercy  therefor,  and 
you  my  parishioners ;  and  do  here  renounce  my 

i  Depositions  of  William  Smyth  and  William  Blenkinsopp, 
Minor  Canons,  who  both,  unfortunately,  afterwards  retracted. 
(Ibid.  pp.  138,  144.) 


150    BB.  THOMAS  PERCY  AND  THOMAS  PLUMTREE 

living  before  you  all ;  and  wheresoever  you  meet  me, 
in  town  or  field,  take  me  as  a  stranger  and  none  of 
your  curate.'  '!1 

For  a  few  days  after  his  reception  back  again 
into  the  one  true  fold,  this  brave  man  had  the 
consolation  of  ministering  at  the  services  in  the 
Cathedral,  where  he  is  once  mentioned  as  serving 
Mr.  Holmes'  Mass ;  but  his  name  was  naturally 
struck  off  from  the  list  of  the  Cathedral  clergy  on 
the  suppression  of  the  Rising,  and  most  probably  he 
had  to  flee  the  country. 

It  is  time  for  us  to  return  to  the  Earl  of 
Northumberland  and  the  Earl  of  Westmoreland,  his 
fellow-leader  in  the  Rising.  Unfortunately  for  the 
ultimate  success  of  their  attempt,  they  had  been 
hurried  into  taking  action  without  sufficient  time 
for  preparation.  They  were,  moreover,  disappointed 
both  as  to  the  co-operation  of  many  of  the  gentry 
from  whom  help  had  been  expected,  and  also  as  to 
assistance  which  had  been  looked  for  from  abroad. 
Thus,  although  they  were  enabled  to  carry  all  before 
them  for  a  little  while,  nevertheless  the  movement 
could  not  sustain  itself,  and  was  soon  forced  to 
collapse.  Meanwhile,  however,  the  Earl  of  Sussex, 
the  Queen's  representative  in  the  North,  was  so 
doubtful  of  the  fidelity  of  his  own  troops,  of  whose 
Catholic  sympathies  he  was  well  aware,  that  he 
dared  not  stir  from  York  against  the  insurgents  till 
reinforcements  should  reach  him  from  the  South ; 
and  his  letters  to  Cecil  betray  his  great  anxiety. 

1  Ibid.  p.  174. 


BB.  THOMAS  PERCY  AND  THOMAS  PLUM  TREE     151 

The  uncompromising  manner  in  which  the 
religious  purpose  of  the  Rising  was  put  forward  by 
the  two  Earls,  is  well  shown  by  the  following  procla 
mation  which  they  issued  a  day  or  two  after  their 
entry  into  Durham  :  "  Thomas,  Earl  of  Northumber 
land,  and  Charles,  Earl  of  Westmoreland,  the 
Queen's  true  and  faithful  subjects,  to  all  the  same 
of  the  old  and  Catholic  Faith, — .  .  .  As  divers 
ill-disposed  persons  about  her  Majesty  have  by  their 
crafty  dealing  overthrown  in  this  realm  the  true  and 
Catholic  religion  towards  God,  abused  the  Queen, 
dishonoured  the  realm,  and  now  seek  to  procure 
the  destruction  of  the  nobility ;  we  have  gathered 
ourselves  together  to  resist  force  by  force,  .  .  .  and 
to  redress  those  things  amiss,  with  the  restoring  of 
all  ancient  customs  and  liberties  to  God  and  this 
noble  realm." 

It  is  true  that  in  a  later  manifesto,  put  forth 
when  they  were  beginning  to  retreat,  the  Earls 
sought  to  disarm  hostility  and  win  fresh  adherents 
by  speaking  only  of  the  need  of  fixing  the  succession 
to  the  throne,  without  making  any  open  reference  to 
religion.  But  the  successor,  whose  claim  they 
wished  to  get  acknowledged,  was  none  other  than 
Mary  Queen  of  Scots,  through  whom  they  hoped 
eventually  to  obtain  the  restoration  of  the  Catholic 
religion.  The  idea,  however,  of  placing  her  upon 
the  throne  at  once  was  not  even  mooted — as  we 
know  from  the  declaration  of  Northumberland 
himself.  He  was  guilty,  therefore,  of  no  hypocrisy 
in  calling  himself  in  the  above  proclamation  "  a 
true  and  faithful  subject  of  Elizabeth." 


152     BB.  THOMAS  PERCY  AND  THOMAS  PLUMTREE 

On  the  day  following  their  entry  into  Durham, 
the  Earls  moved  southwards,  with  the  intention  of 
liberating,  if  possible,  the  Scottish  Queen,  who  was 
then  confined  at  Tutbury,  in  Staffordshire.  Nothing, 
it  would  seem,  could  well  exceed  the  enthusiasm 
with  which  "the  sturdy  men  of  the  North  "  flocked 
to  join  them. 

"  No  sooner,"  writes  M.  de  Fonblanque,  "  had 
they  set  up  their  standards  in  Durham,  than  men  of 
all  classes,  from  nobles  and  knights,  accompanied 
by  their  tenants  mounted  and  equipped  for  war, 
down  to  unarmed  labourers  bringing  only  their 
stout  hearts  and  good-will,  rallied  round  their 
natural  chiefs."  They  went  on,  continues  the  same 
writer,  "  steadily  increasing  their  numbers,  till,  .  .  . 
on  the  23rd  of  November,  the  force  amounted  to 
6,000  men."1 

"All  their  force  both  of  horse  and  foot,"  writes 
Sir  F.  Leek  to  the  Council,  "  wear  red  crosses,  as 
well  the  priests  as  others."2  Their  standard, 
representing  our  Blessed  Lord  with  Blood  streaming 
from  His  Wounds,  was  borne  by  old  Mr.  Richard 
Norton,  High  Sheriff  of  Yorkshire  in  the  previous 
year,  whose  long  grey  hair  and  venerable  bearing 
excited  the  enthusiasm  of  the  beholders. 

The  chief  chaplain  of  their  army  appears  to  have 
been  none  other  than  the  Blessed  Thomas  Plumtree, 
illustrious  for  his  martyrdom  at  Durham  after  the 
suppression  of  the  Rising.  In  an  old  ballad  of  the 
time  he  is  called  "the  preacher  of  the  Rebels;  "  and 

1  Annals  of  the  House  of  Percy,  ii.  pp.  51,  57. 
'2  Domestic  Calendar,  Addenda,  December  3,  1569. 


BB.  THOMAS  PERCY  AND  THOMAS  PLUM  TREE  153 

the  same  title  is  given  him  in  Lord  Scroop's  list  of 
the  prisoners  whom  he  sent  to  Durham  :  "  Thomas 
Plomtree,  a  priest  and  their  preacher;  "x  and  as,  in 
the  report  of  the  trials  held  at  Durham,  he  is  only 
mentioned  once  as  having  there  said  Mass,  it  seems 
probable  that  he  accompanied  the  two  Earls  on  their 
march  southwards,  and  only  returned  to  Durham 
with  them.  As  to  this  holy  man's  earlier  life,  we 
unfortunately  know  little.  He  seems  to  have  been 
a  native  of  the  diocese  of  Lincoln,  and  to  have  been 
a  scholar  of  Corpus  Christi  College,  Oxford,  in 
1543.  He  took  the  degree  of  B.A.  in  1546,  and 
in  the  same  year  was  made  Rector  of  Stubton, 
in  Lincolnshire.  He  resigned  this  benefice  at  the 
change  of  religion  under  Elizabeth,  and  became 
master  of  a  school  at  Lincoln,  which  position  he 
also  had  to  give  up  later  on  account  of  his 
religion.2  A  despatch  of  Fenelon,  the  French  Ambas 
sador,  described  Blessed  Thomas  Plumtree,  a  few 
days  after  his  martyrdom,  as  estime  home  fort  s$avant 
et  de  bonne  vie.3 

Staindrop  and  Darlington  seem  to  have  been  the 
Earls'  first  stopping-places  after  leaving  Brancepeth, 
and  at  each,  as  at  Durham,  they  proclaimed  the 

1    Among  manye  newes  reported  of  late, 
As  touching  the  Rebelles  their  wicked  estate, 
Yet  Syr  Thomas  Plomtrie,  their  preacher  they  saie, 
Hath  made  the  north  countrie  to  crie  well  a  daye, 
Well  a  daye,  well  a  daye,  well  a  daye,  woe  is  mee, 
Syr  Thomas  Plomtrie  is  hanged  on  a  tree. 

(Sharpe,  pp.  123,  383.)     In  a  summary  of  those  executed  (p.  140), 
Sharpe,  by  an  evident  mistake,  calls  him  William  Plumtree. 
2  Bridgewater's  Concertatio,  fol.  405.     See  Foster,  Alumni  Oxonienses. 
3  January  21,  1570.     Quoted  by  Sharpe,  p.  188. 


i54     BB.  THOMAS  PERCY  AND  THOMAS  PLUMTREE 

re-establishment  of  Catholic  worship.  Leaving 
Darlington  on  November  the  i7th,  after  assisting 
publicly  at  the  Holy  Sacrifice,  offered  up  most 
probably  by  Blessed  Thomas  Plum  tree,  they  passed 
into  Yorkshire,  continually  receiving  fresh  adherents 
and  nowhere  meeting  an  opponent,  and  proceeded 
through  Richmond  and  Northallerton  to  Ripon, 
where  the  Holy  Mass  was  once  more  celebrated 
in  St.  Wilfrid's  stately  Minster.  Thence  advancing 
still  further  south,  they  encamped  on  November  the 
23rd  on  Clifford  Moor,  near  Wetherby.  So  far 
everything  had  gone  favourably.  "  They  had  suc 
ceeded  in  dispersing  the  levies  in  course  of  forma 
tion  for  the  Queen's  service,  had  captured  a  body  of 
300  horse  at  Tadcaster,  and  cut  off  communication 
with  York,  where  Sussex  lay  with  a  garrison  not 
exceeding  2,000  men,  'whereof  not  past  300 
horsemen.'  A  vigorous  assault  would  have  placed 
him  and  the  city  at  their  mercy."1 

At  this  point  however,  the  unfortunate  failure  of 
supplies  and  money,  as  also  differences  of  opinion 
amongst  the  leaders,  put  a  stop  to  further  progress, 
and  necessitated  their  return  into  the  bishopric  of 
Durham.  Marching,  therefore,  again  northwards,  they 
succeeded  in  capturing,  first  the  port  of  Hartlepool, 
through  which  they  hoped  to  receive  succour  from 
abroad,  and  a  little  later  Barnard  Castle,  where  seems 
to  have  occurred  almost  the  only  fighting,  and  to 
which  they  laid  a  formal  siege.  The  sympathy  felt 
by  a  large  portion  of  the  garrison  for  the  undertaking 
of  the  Earls,  was  shown  by  some  hundreds  of  them 

1  De  Fonblanque,  ii.  p.  58. 


BB.  THOMAS  PERCY  AND  THOMAS  PLUMTREE  155 

leaping  from  the  walls  to  join  them  ;  and,  at  the  end 
of  ten  days,  Sir  George  Bowes,  the  royalist  com 
mander  of  the  castle,  found  it  necessary  to  capitulate, 
and  was  allowed  to  march  out  with  such  troops  as 
remained  faithful  to  him,  and  proceed  to  York. 

Whilst  the  siege  was  still  continuing,  the  Earl 
of  Northumberland,  in  consequence  of  the  rumoured 
approach  of  hostile  troops  from  Berwick,  had  returned 
with  five  hundred  horse  to  Durham  ;  it  was  thus 
he  was  present  in  the  Cathedral  on  December  the 
4th,  when  Mr.  Holmes  publicly  absolved  the  people.1 
Also  along  with  him  and  as  chaplain  to  his 
soldiers,  the  Blessed  Thomas  Plumtree  seems  to 
have  returned,  for  he  appears  to  have  been  the 
celebrant  of  the  Mass  said  on  that  memorable  day 
immediately  before  Mr.  Holmes'  sermon.  Amongst 
the  citizens  of  Durham  tried  afterwards  for  having 
been  present  at  the  services  held  in  the  Cathedral, 
one,  Ralph  Stevenson,  admitted  that  "  he  was  at 
Plomtre's  Masse  in  the  Collidge  Church  and  was  at 
Holmes'  preichinge.  .  .  .  He  toke  absolucion  of  the 
said  preicher,  emongst  the  resydew  of  the  people. ": 

Meanwhile,  the  approach  of  his  long  expected 
reinforcements  had  set  Sussex  free  to  commence  a 
movement  northwards,  other  troops  to  join  him 
having  been  gathered  at  Newcastle.  The  hope 
lessness  of  any  ultimate  success  to  be  obtained  by 

1  Depositions  and  Ecclesiastical  Proceedings,  &c. 

-  Ibid.  p.  181.  The  Close,  occupied  by  the  Prebendaries'  houses 
on  the  south  side  of  the  Cathedral,  is  still  called  "  the  College." 
Probably  the  Cathedral  came  to  be  spoken  of  as  the  "College 
Church,"  from  the  erection  in  it  of  a  College  of  Canons  in  place  of 
the  former  monks. 


i56  BB.  THOMAS  PERCY  AND  THOMAS  PLUMTREE 


the  insurgents  was  thus  made  daily  more  apparent. 
They  held  their  last  council  of  war  at  Durham  on 
December  the  i6th,  when  Lord  Westmoreland  seems 
to  have  been  in  favour  of  still  standing  out,  but 
the  gentle  and  more  timorous  Northumberland,  afraid 
of  causing  useless  bloodshed,  and  anxious  still,  as 
far  as  might  be  possible,  to  avoid  resistance  to  his 
Sovereign,  was  desirous  that  they  should  cease 
hostilities.1  Opinions  being  thus  divided,  no  course 
but  flight  was  open  to  them.  On  the  same  night, 
accordingly,  dismissing  their  poorer  followers  to  their 
own  homes,  the  two  Earls,  with  the  chief  part  of  the 
gentry  that  had  joined  them,  rode  off  to  Hexham. 
A  few  days  later  they  made  their  way  across  the 
Scottish  frontier,  trusting  to  find  safety  for  a  while 
amongst  the  half  independent  clans  dwelling  on 
the  borders ;  and  thence,  not  long  afterwards, 
Lord  Westmoreland  and  many  others  succeeded  in 
escaping  to  the  Continent. 

The  whole  North  was  now  at  the  mercy  of  the 
Earl  of  Sussex,  whom  the  Queen  had  especially 
charged  to  execute  on  the  offenders  the  full  severity 
of  martial  law.  "  The  most  repulsive  feature,"  writes 
the  author  of  the  Percy  Annals,  "  in  the  retaliatory 
measures  now  adopted  by  Elizabeth  and  her  agents, 
is  the  cold-blooded,  calculating  spirit  in  which  whole- 

1  Reports  (perhaps  exaggerated)  of  the  Earl's  hesitation  had 
already  reached  his  enemies.  On  the  previous  November  24, 
Lord  Hunsdon  wrote  from  York  to  Cecil :  "  The  other  [Northum 
berland]  is  very  timorous,  and  has  meant  twice  or  thrice  to  submit ; 
but  his  wife  encourages  him  to  persevere,  and  rides  up  and  down 
with  their  army,  so  that  the  grey  mare  is  the  better  horse." 
(Domestic  Calendar,  Addenda  (1566—1579).  P-  I24-) 


BB.  THOMAS  PERCY  AND  THOMAS  PLUMTREE     157 

sale  executions  were  inflicted  upon  the  '  meaner  sort/ 
while  those  were  spared  who  were  able  to  ransom 
their  lives.  The  gentlemen  and  substantial  yeomen 
who  fell  into  the  hands  of  the  authorities  were 
allowed  to  escape  the  penalty  of  their  offences  by  a 
money  payment ;  while  the  poor  peasants  .  .  .  were 
consigned  to  the  gallows  by  hundreds.  ...  A  report, 
drawn  up  in  October,  1573,  by  Lord  Huntingdon, 
put  the  number  of  rebels  actually  executed  at  '  seven 
hundred  and  odd,  .  .  .  wholly  of  the  meanest  of  the 
people,  except  the  aldermen  of  Durham,  Plomtree, 
their  preacher,  the  constables,  and  fifty  serving- 
men.'"1  "In  the  county  of  Durham  alone,"  says 
Lingard,  "more  than  three  hundred  individuals 
suffered  death  ;  nor  was  there  between  Newcastle 
and  Wetherby,  a  district  of  sixty  miles  in  length 
and  forty  in  breadth,  a  town  or  village  in  which 
some  of  the  inhabitants  did  not  expire  on  the 
gibbet."2 

Blessed  Thomas  Plumtree  was  taken  in  his  flight 
together  with  some  three  hundred  others,  and  con 
ducted  to  Carlisle.  Thence,  a  few  days  later,  he  was 
sent  back  by  Lord  Scroop  to  Durham  along  with 
some  thirty  landed  gentlemen,  whose  estates  were 
marked  for  confiscation,  and  committed  to  the 
custody  of  Sir  George  Bowes,  the  late  opponent  of 
the  Earls  at  Barnard  Castle,  who  was  now  installed 
in  Durham  Castle  as  Marshal  for  the  keeping  of  the 
."prisoners  rebels."  In  pursuance,  probably,  of  the 
following  suggestions,  found  in  a  memorial  of  Cecil's 

1  De  Fonblanque,  ii.  pp.  76  and  80. 

2  History  of  England,  vol.  vi.  p.  217. 


i58     BB.  THOMAS  PERCY  AND  THOMAS  PLUMTREE 

—  "  For  some  terror  .  .  .  particular  examples  are  to 
be  made  at  Durham,  where  the  Bibles  and  Common 
Prayers  were  misused.  .  .  .  Some  notable  example 
is  to  be  made  of  the  priests  that  have  offended  in 
this  rebellion"1— Thomas  Plumtree  was  singled  out 
amongst  the  very  first  for  special  punishment,  in 
hatred  of  his  priestly  character. 

The  Earl  of  Sussex  came  himself  to  Durham  to 
preside  in  person  at  the  executions,  which  began  on 
January  the  4th.  On  that  day  the  blessed  martyr 
was  led  out  from  the  Castle,  in  full  sight  of  the  old 
Cathedral  in  which  he  had  so  lately  offered  up  the 
Holy  Sacrifice,  and  conducted  down  the  winding 
street  which  leads  to  the  market-place,  where  his 
gibbet  was  erected.  Dr.  Nicholas  Sander,  writing 
within  a  year  and  a  half  of  the  occurrence,  relates 
that,  "on  his  arriving  at  the  place  of  execu 
tion  (jam  ad  mortem  ducto),  his  life  was  offered  to 
him,  if  he  would  but  renounce  the  Catholic  Faith 
and  embrace  the  heresy ;  "  to  which  the  martyr 
nobly  answered,  "that  he  had  no  desire  so  to 
continue  living  in  the  world,  as  meantime  to  die  to 
God.  Wherefore,  having  fearlessly  confessed  his 
Faith,  by  God's  grace  he  suffered  death  in  this  world, 
that  he  might  merit  to  receive  from  Christ  eternal 

life."2 

Surtees3  quotes  the  register  of  St.  Nicholas'  (the 
church  in  the  market-place  where  the  martyr 
suffered)  as  recording,  on  January  the  i4th,  the 

1  Domestic  Calendar,  Addenda,  p.  172. 

2  De  Visibili  Monarchist  Ecclesia,  Louvain,  1571,  p.  732- 

3  History  of  Durham,  iv.  p.  51. 


BB.  THOMAS  PERCY  AND  THOMAS  PLUMTREE     159 

burial  of  "  Maistre  Plumbetre."  In  the  English 
College  pictures  Blessed  Thomas  Plumtree  is  repre 
sented  as  being  cut  in  pieces,  after  hanging,  as  were 
most  of  the  other  martyrs ;  and  from  his  burial 
having  taken  place  ten  days  after  his  martyrdom, 
it  seems  that  his  quarters  must  have  been  left 
hanging  on  the  gibbet,  "  for  some  terror,"  for  the 
space  of  ten  whole  days.  The  ancient  cemetery,  in 
which  he  seems  to  have  been  laid,  is  now  covered  by 
the  pavement  of  the  market-place. 

The  remainder  of  the  priests  who  had  worked  so 
zealously  at  Durham,  during  the  brief  restoration  of 
the  Catholic  religion,  seem  to  have  succeeded  in 
escaping;  although  of  few  of  them,  except  William 
Holmes,  "  the  Patriarch,"  is  it  possible  to  find 
further  actual  mention.  There  seems,  however,  to 
be  good  reason  for  identifying  the  John  Peirson, 
spoken  of  amongst  them,  with  "  a  venerable  old 
priest  "  named  John  Pearson,  who  "was  imprisoned" 
(says  Father  Christopher  Grene,  S.J.)  "  for  many 
years  at  Durham,  for  refusing  to  attend  heretical 
services;"  and  who— from  the  order  in  which  Father 
Grene  makes  mention  of  him  —  appears  to  have 
died  not  later  than  the  year  1585,  "from  his  cruel 
treatment  in  a  dungeon  into  which  he  was  thrust, 
when  in  a  burning  fever,  among  a  set  of  thieves."  1 
Against  Mr.  Holmes,  who  had  escaped  to  Scotland, 
a  special  indictment  had  been  made  out  at  Durham, 
and  more  than  one  allusion  to  him  is  found  in  the 
State  Papers  of  the  time.  Thus,  on  the  I5th  of 
February,  1570,  Lord  Hunsdon  writes  from  Berwick 
1  Father  Morris,  Troubles,  Hi.  p.  315. 


160     BB.  THOMAS  PERCY  AND  THOMAS  PLUMTREE 

to   the    Privy    Council,    that   "  Lord    Home   is   the 
principal  receiver    of  the   Queen's   rebels,   and   has 
Mass  in  his  house;  for  the  Patriarch,  who  was  at 
Durham  with  the   Earls,   is   now  at   Fast   Castle," 
near  Dunbar.     A  little  later   (March  the   lyth),  he 
writes  again  to  say  that  he  has  received  information 
that  "the  Patriarch  and  other  rebels  have  prepared 
a  ship  to  pass  into  Flanders, >;  and  that  he  hopes  to 
intercept    them,    as    "  Mr.  Randolph     [then    Eliza 
beth's  Postmaster  General]   has  practised  with  the 
master    of  the    ship."     Lord    Hunsdon's    hopes    in 
this  respect  were,  however,  doomed  to  disappoint 
ment ;    and  on  the  following  April  the  ist  he   was 
obliged  to  inform  Cecil  that,  by  the  contrivance  of 
Lord  Home,  who  had  received  warning  of  his  plot, 
Mr.  Holmes  and  his  companions  had  been  sent  to 
Orkney,  to  be  conveyed  by  that  circuitous  route  to 
Flanders.1     There,  amongst  the  English  exiles  for 
the  Faith,  "William  Holmes,  priest,"  is  named  in 
Sander's  De  Visibili  Monarchia. 

This  section  may  be  concluded  with  the  following 
beautiful  letter,  written  by  Mr.  Holmes  from  Louvain, 
in  the  September  of  1571,  to  one  of  his  fellow- 
fugitives  of  the  Rising  — George  Smythe,  of  Esh 
Hall,  Durham  — who  had  not  yet  succeeded  in 
escaping  to  the  Continent,  being  kept  a  prisoner  by 
Lord  Lindsay  : 

"  I  am  sorry  to  seem  to  neglect  you  in  not 
writing ;  but  I  have  to  write  when  I  should  sleep. 
I  have  prayed  for  your  spiritual  comfort,  and  am 

i  Domestic  Calendar,  Addenda,  and  Sharpe,  p.  72. 


BB.  THOMAS  PERCY  AND  THOMAS  PLUMTREE     161 

glad  to  hear  of  your  courage  in  God's  cause.  You 
may  rejoice  that  you  are  thought  worthy  to  suffer 
for  His  sake.  Walking  on  the  seas  tried  Peter's  love, 
but  he  was  not  suffered  to  drown.  Drink  the  cup  of 
persecution  willingly,  though  bitter  in  taste,  and  your 
reward  shall  be  everlasting  life."1 

This  letter,  intercepted  by  the  spies  of  Cecil,  can 
never  have  been  seen  by  him  for  whose  encourage 
ment  it  was  written. 

None  of  God's  saints  have  won  the  crowns  they 
now  wear  in  Heaven,  without  going  through  much 
suffering  here  on  earth.  It  seems  indeed  a  necessary 
condition  for  the  acquiring  of  sanctity  in  any  high 
degree  to  have  first  passed  through  the  school  of 
suffering,  since  there  is  no  way  of  becoming  like  to 
our  Blessed  Lord  without  taking  up  the  Cross. 

It  could  not  be  otherwise  with  Blessed  Thomas 
Percy;  and  we  have  now  reached  a  period  in  his 
life  at  which  began  for  him  a  long  course  of  tribu 
lations,  destined  in  God's  providence  to  fit  him  for 
his  final  triumph. 

The  brave  Countess  of  Northumberland  had 
clung  faithfully  to  her  husband  throughout  the 
campaign,  riding  everywhere  with  him  and  his 
army.  On  passing  into  Scotland  after  the  Might 
from  Durham,  they  both  took  refuge  for  a  little 
while  in  the  cottage  of  a  Liddesdale  outlaw,  known 
upon  the  Borders  as  John  of  the  Side.  It  was 
only  for  a  few  days,  however,  that  the  Earl's 
enemies  allowed  him  to  enjoy  even  the  poor  shelter 

1  Domestic  Calendar,  Addenda,  Sept.  3  (or  13),  1571. 


II. 


162     BB.  THOMAS  PERCY  AND  THOMAS  PLUMTREE 

which  Sussex,  in  writing  to  the  Queen,  described  as 
"  not  to  be  compared  to  any  dog-kennel  in  England." 
Acting  in  agreement  with  the  Ministers  of  Eliza 
beth,  the  Scotch  Regent,  Murray,  had  already  made 
a    proclamation,   in  which   he  warned   his  subjects 
that   "  the  rebellious   people   of  England   intend  to 
enter  Scotland  in  a  warlike  manner,  and  set  up  again 
the  Papistical  idolatry  and  abominable  Mass;  "  and, 
on  hearing  of  the  arrival  of  the  fugitives  amongst 
the   Border  clans,  he  succeeded,  by  the  free  use  of 
threats  and  promises  to  the  men  of  Liddesdale,  in 
procuring  their  expulsion.1    On  being  driven  thence, 
Northumberland,  thinking  that  his  late  rough  hosts 
would    at   least  respect  his  wife,    and    not   wishing 
to   expose   her  to   further   unknown   perils,  left   her 
amongst  them,  and  set  out  to  seek  protection  from 
the  neighbouring  clan  of  Armstrongs.      No  sooner 
had  he  gone,  however,  than  the  poor  Countess  found 
herself  robbed  of  all  her  personal  effects,  including 
her   money   and    her  jewels,   whilst   her  horse   and 
those  of  her  attendants  were  seized  by  the  outlaws 
for  their  own  use.     Happily  she  was  not  left  very 
long  in  this  miserable  state,  but  was  rescued  by  the 
friendly  Laird   of  Fernihurst,  who  conducted  her  a 
few  days  later  to  Fast  Castle,  on  the  sea-coast,  where, 
with  many  of  the  other  fugitives,  she  was  protected 
by  Lord  Home. 

Meanwhile  the   Earl  himself  had  been  betrayed 

into  a  snare  laid  for    him  by  the  Regent,  through 

the  treachery  of  a  certain  Hector  Armstrong,  whom, 

when  a  fugitive  in  England,  he  had  himself  formerly 

1  Foreign  Calendar,  December  18  and  22,  1569. 


BB.  THOMAS  PERCY  AND  THOMAS  PLUMTREE     163 

protected.  By  this  man  he  was  entrapped  into  a 
conference  with  an  envoy  from  the  Regent ;  and 
whilst  talking  with  the  latter  was  suddenly  sur 
rounded  by  a  troop  of  horsemen.  These  succeeded 
in  conveying  him  to  Hawick,  in  spite  of  the  brave 
resistance  of  his  followers,  who  gave  pursuit  and 
contrived  to  kill  the  leader  of  the  capturing  party.1 

The  betrayal  of  the  Earl  to  the  Regent,  in  the 
manner  just  relate'd,  took  place  on  the  Christmas 
Eve  of  1569,  but  eight  days  after  his  flight  from 
Durham.-  Torn  away,  as  he  was,  thus  suddenly 
from  all  his  friends  and  followers,  and  committed 
to  the  mercy  of  a  declared  and  faithless  enemy, 
it  is  not  easy  to  imagine  a  much  more  forlorn 
condition:  and  his  "great  distress  and  miser)-, 
clean  without  apparel  or  money  ;  "  and  still  more 
his  anxiety  of  mind  as  to  the  condition  of  "  his 
friends,  his  men,  and  those  that  were  with  him," 
and,  above  all,  of  "  his  children  " — four  little  girls 
(of  whom  the  eldest  was  no  more  than  ten),  now 
bereft  of  both  their  parents,  and  left  behind  in 
England— is  feelingly  described  in  a  letter,  which 
was  addressed  on  the  Earl's  behalf  a  few  days  later 
to  his  brother,  Sir  Henry  Percy,3  who,  throughout 
the  Rising,  had  taken  open  part  against  him,  but  who 
now  began  to  show  some  willingness  to  help  him. 

The  news  of  Northumberland's  capture  by  the 
Scottish  Regent  was  communicated  to  the  Queen 
on  the  day  after  its  occurrence  by  Lord  Sussex, 
who  had  at  once  received  information  of  it.  Nothing 

1  De  Fonblanque,  ii.  p.  68. 

-  Domestic  Calendar,  Addenda,  December  25,  1569. 
3  De  Fonblanque,  ii.  p.  71. 


164     BB.  THOMAS  PERCY  AND  THOMAS  PLUMTREE 


else,  however,  would  content  Elizabeth  but  that 
the  Earl  should  be  handed  over  to  herself;  and 
she,  with  this  object,  immediately  commenced 
negotiating  in  spite  of  the  warning  sent  to  her  by 
Lord  Hunsdon,  that  he  found  "the  nobility  and 
the  commonalty  of  Scotland  bent  wholly  to  the 
contrary,"  and  that  "  if  his  spies  did  not  much  fail, 
most  of  the  nobility  thought  it  a  great  reproach  to 
the  country  to  deliver  any  banished  man  to  the 
slaughter."  l 

The  only  effect  this  message  had  upon  Elizabeth 
is  shown  by  a  letter,  in  which  she  seeks  to  rouse  the 
bigotry  of  the  Scottish  Regent,  telling  him  that  "  as 
the  rebels,  besides  their  treason  against  her,  have 
purposed  the  alteration  of  the  common  religion, 
she  cannot  think  that  any  godly  wise  councillor 
will  either  maintain  them  or  impeach  their  delivery."2 
This  acknowledgment  of  the  religious  purpose  of  the 
Rising,  made  by  Elizabeth  herself,  is  worth  noting. 

In  the  end,  finding  it  impossible  otherwise  to 
obtain  possession  of  her  victim,  Elizabeth  was  not 
ashamed  to  bargain  with  the  successor  of  Murray 
as  to  the  price  of  the  Earl's  surrender ;  and  at  last, 
in  spite  of  her  known  avarice,  agreed  to  pay  for  him 
£2,000 — possibly  worth  £16,000  to  £20,000  in  the 
present  value  of  money.  Thus  the  Blessed  Thomas 
Percy  had,  like  our  Lord,  the  glory  of  being  sold  for 
money  to  his  enemies ;  and  what  added  to  the 
infamy  of  the  transaction  was  the  fact  that  the  Scots 
were  at  the  same  time  treating  for  his  ransom  with 

1  Domestic  Calendar,  Addenda,  January  13,  1570. 
2  Foreign  Calendar,  January  24,  1570. 


BB.  THOMAS  PERCY  AND  THOMAS  PLUMTREE     165 

the  Countess,  whose  offer  they  would  have  accepted 
had  not  Elizabeth  outbidden  her.  Meanwhile,  the 
Earl  himself  had  been  placed  by  the  Regent  in 
strict  confinement  at  Lochleven,  in  the  castle 
famous  for  having  been  a  short  time  previously 
the  prison  of  Queen  Mary.  There  he  was  left  to 
languish  for  two  years  and  a  half. 

We  are  indebted  for  a  reliable  account  of  the 
captivity  and  martyrdom  of  Blessed  Thomas  Percy 
(from  which  I  shall  not  scruple  to  quote  freely)  to 
the  pen  of  Dr.  Nicholas  Sander,1  the  much  calum 
niated  historian  of  the  Anglican  schism,  who  was 
for  some  time  in  Flanders  with  the  Countess  of 
Northumberland,  besides  being  in  actual  correspond 
ence  with  the  Earl. 

After  speaking  of  the  wonderful  gentleness  and 
patience  with  which  the  saintly  man  bore  his 
captivity  at  Lochleven,  and  of  the  continual  fasts 
and  watchings  and  pious  meditations,  by  means  of 
which  he  strove  to  win  that  "crown  of  glory,  which 
the  just  judge  now  has  rendered  to  him,"  this 
writer  goes  on  to  relate  that,  although  the  Calvinist 
Laird  of  Lochleven,  who  had  the  Earl  in  keeping, 
"  often  brought  thither  a  number  of  persons  of  his 

1  Martyrium  sanctissimi  viri  Thoma  Percei,  Comitis  Northumbria. 
It  was  published,  after  Sander's  death,  in  Bridgewater's  Concertatio, 
Treves,  1589.  So  far  as  I  know,  it  has  not  yet  been  translated. 
Unfortunately  I  have  not  been  able  to  consult  the  MS.  at  Florence 
which  Mr.  Turnbull  found  among  the  Medici  Archives  there.  He 
says  it  contains  an  account  of  the  execution  sent  to  the  Grand  Duke 
of  Tuscany  by  one  of  his  residents  in  England,  and  that  it  records 
"the  speech  and  even  the  prayers  uttered  by  the  Earl  at  the  solemn 
moment."  (W.  Turnbull,  Letters  of  Mary  Stuart,  p.  67,  note.) 


1 66  BB.  THOMAS  PERCY  AND  THOMAS  PLUMTREE 

sect,  who  tried  to  draw  the  Earl  away  from  the 
Catholic  faith  into  their  new  errors ;  these  men, 
nevertheless,  were  never  able,  either  by  cunning 
arguments  and  speeches,  or  by  any  kind  of  threats 
or  promises,  to  prevail  on  him  to  depart  even  in 
the  smallest  matter  from  the  communion  of  the 
Catholic  Church  ;  and  yet,  if  he  would  have  but 
yielded  somewhat  to  their  heresy,  there  were  not 
wanting  persons  quite  prepared  to  promise  to  him, 
not  merely  his  release  from  prison,  but  also  his  old 
rank  and  honours.  If,  as  often  happened,  meat  was 
brought  to  him  on  days  on  which  Catholics  observe 
a  fast,  he  contented  himself  with  bread  alone ;  and 
by  his  example  he  moved  some  of  those  attending 
on  him  to  repent  of  their  apostasy.  Sometimes  he 
spent  whole  days  upon  his  knees,  .  .  .  and  prayer, 
to  which  he  had  been  devoted  all  his  life,  was  now 
more  than  ever  his  delight."  "  I  myself,"  continues 
Sander,  "  have  seen  a  fair  sized  book,  elegantly 
written  and  illuminated  by  his  own  hand,  into 
which  he  had  brought  together  a  quantity  of  prayers 
gathered  out  of  various  works." 

The  above  account  of  the  promises  made  to  the 
Earl  at  this  time,  if  he  would  but  renounce  his 
Faith,  is  confirmed  by  the  following  passage  taken 
from  an  intercepted  letter,  which  was  addressed,  in 
the  May  of  1570,  to  the  Duchess  of  Feria  in  Spain, 
by  Sir  Francis  Englefield,  then  living  in  exile  for 
the  Faith  at  Antwerp.  After  mentioning  the  Earl's 
imprisonment  at  Lochleven,  the  writer  of  this  letter 
says  :  "  Hunsdon  has  offered  Northumberland  con 
ditions  of  pardon  ;  but  he  has  refused  them  without 


BB.  THOMAS  PERCY  AND  THOMAS  PLUMTREE     167 


liberty  (be  given)  to  the  Catholics  to  live  as 
such."1 

The  unselfishness  with  which,  at  the  cost  of  all 
manner  of  sacrifices  to  herself,  Lady  Northumberland 
laboured  for  her  husband's  liberation  could  not  be 
surpassed  ;  and  at  one  time  it  really  seemed  as  if 
her  efforts  were  about  to  be  successful.  With  the 
Earl's  keeper,  William  Douglas,  of  Lochleven,  she 
contrived  to  come  to  an  agreement  as  to  the  sum 
which  would  be  accepted,  and  the  raising  of  the 
money  seemed  to  be  the  only  further  thing  required. 
For  this  purpose,  seeing  no  hope  of  obtaining  it  as 
long  as  she  remained  where  she  was,  and  afraid  lest 
her  own  liberty  should  sooner  or  later  be  interfered 
with,  about  the  June  of  1570  she  moved  northwards 
to  Aberdeen,  with  the  view  of  making  her  way 
thence  to  the  Continent.  In  this  she  received  much 
help  from  Lord  Seton,  who,  after  entertaining  her 
for  some  time  "in  old  Aberdeen  in  the  Chancellor's 
house" — where  "  it  is  said,"  wrote  Randolph,  "she 
hears  Mass  daily  "—himself  set  sail  with  her  for  the 
Low  Countries  in  the  following  August.2 

In  Flanders,  the  Countess  received  a  kind 
welcome  from  the  Duke  of  Alva,  who  undertook  to 
interest  the  King  of  Spain  on  her  behalf;  and  from 
that  monarch  (though  only  after  several  months' 
delay)  she  received  a  promise  of  6,000  crowns, 
which  fell  far  short  of  the  sum  demanded  by 
Lochleven.  Nothing,  however,  could  daunt  her 
zeal,  and  at  last,  in  the  January  of  1572,  she  was 
able  to  send  word  to  her  husband  that,  thanks  to 

1  Domestic  Calendar,  Addenda,  May  7,  1570.         2  Sharpe,  p.  346. 


1 68     BB.  THOMAS  PERCY  AND  THOMAS  PLUMTREE 


a  further  promise  of  4,000  crowns  from  Pope 
St.  Pius  V.,  the  sum  required  for  his  ransom  was 
obtained ;  and  that  nothing  was  now  left  but  to 
take  the  necessary  measures  for  securing  his  safe 
passage  to  the  Continent.1 

How  high  the  hopes  of  the  Earl's  many  friends 
abroad  had  risen,  may  be  gathered  from  the 
following  letter  written  from  Louvain,  in  the  month 
just  mentioned,  to  the  prisoner  of  Lochleven  by 
none  other  than  the  Dr.  Sander  I  have  quoted.  It 
was  intercepted  by  the  agents  of  Elizabeth,  and 
so  was  never  suffered  to  convey  the  consolation 
intended  by  its  writer.  We  see  from  it  that 
Dr.  Sander  was  then  on  the  point  of  setting  out  for 
Rome,  whither  St.  Pius  V.  had  summoned  him  ; 
and  it  contains  a  very  pleasing  reference  to  that 
Pope's  affection  for  the  imprisoned  nobleman. 

"  Amongst  my  other  fortunes,  I  account  it  not 
the  best  that  I  am  forced  to  leave  this  country, 
when  you,  as  we  hear,  are  drawing  near  to  it  ;  for 

1  The  Countess'  long  and  touching  letter  conveying  the  above 
intelligence  is  given  in  the  Annals  of  the  House  of  Percy,  ii.pp.g6 — 101. 
In  speaking  of  persons  likely  to  be  able  to  assist  her  husband,  she 
describes  Dr.  Allen  (afterwards  Cardinal)  as  "the  most  singular 
man  in  my  opinion,  next  to  Mr.  Sanders,  on  this  side  the  seas.  If 
he  might  be  had  (to  help  you),  I  think  you  could  not  have  the 
choice  of  the  like,  whensoever  God  should  send  you  hither."  The 
following  shows  the  anxiety  both  of  the  Earl  and  herself  for  their 
children,  who  had  been  separated  from  them,  and  were  apparently 
in  the  hands  of  Protestants.  "  For  your  children,  the  best  means 
that  I  can  imagine  to  have  them  transmitted  hither  were  a  suit  to 
be  made  to  have  them  licensed  to  come  to  see  you.  .  .  .  The  eldest 
of  all  I  wish  the  rather,  because  her  age  is  fittest  to  receive 
instruction,  and  most  ready  to  take  knowledge  now  of  the 
virtuous  examples,  which  here  she  could  see  and  learn,  and  there 
doth  want  altogether." 


BB.  THOMAS  PERCY  AND  THOMAS  PLUMTREE     169 

now  I  depart  to  Italy,  being  called  for  to  Rome  ; 
and  yet  amongst  my  adversities,  I  accept  it  the 
least  that  I  go  not  hence  before  I  see  you  in  some 
towardness  to  come  hither.  What  travail  my  Lady 
has  taken  for  your  delivery,  not  only  do  I  know  who 
was  a  part  of  it,  but  all  men  see  ;  because  she  was 
no  longer  able  to  work  by  private  means,  but  was 
forced  to  follow  the  Court,  and  to  press  upon  the 
Duke's  grace  even  against  his  will.  God  saw  her 
tears  and  heard  her  prayers.  But  what  say  I,  hers  ? 
He  saw  and  heard  yours,  which  were  so  earnest 
that  they  also  appeared  in  her.  I  shall  long  to  hear 
from  you,  being  at  Rome  ;  and,  much  more,  to  hear 
of  your  delivery,  and  to  deliver  your  letter  of  thanks 
to  him  that  there  loves  you  ;  and  truly  if  he  loves 
you,  as  he  has  given  good  evidence,  then  God  loves 
you.  For  these  three  hundred  years  there  was  no 
such  man  in  that  See,  albeit  many  excellent  men 
have  sat  there.  But  you  have  a  more  proper  token 
of  God's  love — your  imprisonment,  affliction,  trouble, 
and  tedious  oppression.  That  do  you  embrace,  and 
you  have  conquered  the  world.  As  you  have  borne 
yourself  well  in  adversity,  so  take  care  not  to  forget 
the  goodness  of  God  if  He  send  you  prosperity,  as 
I  beseech  Him  to  do."1 

The  activity  of  the  spies  employed  by  Cecil  (now 
Lord  Burghley)  on  the  Continent,  is  proved  by  the 
quantity  of  letters  such  as  the  above,  which  they 
found  means  of  intercepting,  and  which  are  now 
calendared  in  the  volumes  published  by  the  Master 

1  Domestic  Calendar,  Addenda,  January  8,  1572. 


i7o     BB.  THOMAS  PERCY  AND  THOMAS  PLUMTREE 

of  the  Rolls,  together  with  the  letters  of  the  spies 
that  sent  them.  It  was  through  the  agency  of  one 
of  these  spies — a  man  named  John  Lee,  who,  by 
his  pretended  zeal  for  the  Catholic  Faith,  and  his 
feigned  ardour  in  the  cause  of  Mary  Queen  of  Scots, 
had  contrived  to  worm  himself  into  the  confidence 
of  the  poor  Countess  and  the  other  exiles  (we  hear 
more  of  this  rascal  in  the  life  of  Blessed  John 
Storey) — that  the  Ministers  of  Elizabeth  received 
prompt  and  full  information  of  each  step  taken  by 
the  unfortunate  lady  for  her  husband's  liberation. 

On  learning,  therefore,  that  a  final  agreement 
was  on  the  point  of  being  come  to  between  the 
Countess  and  Douglas  of  Lochleven,  Elizabeth 
determined  at  once  to  push  on  her  negotiations 
with  the  Scottish  Regent  to  the  conclusion  on 
which  she  had  set  her  mind.  The  shameful  bargain 
for  the  Earl's  surrender  was  accordingly  arranged 
on  the  i6th  of  April,  1572,  as  is  shown  by  a  letter 
from  the  Queen  herself  to  Lord  Hunsdon,  the 
Governor  of  Berwick,  in  which  she  signifies  her 
willingness  to  pay  the  £2,000  demanded.  Its  actual 
payment  seems,  however,  only  to  have  been  extorted 
from  her  by  the  repeated  assurances  of  Lord 
Hunsdon,  that  the  Scots  "  would  not  deliver  up 
the  Earl  without  the  money."1 

It  is  true  that  the  Scottish  Regent  strove  to 
veil  the  infamy  of  his  own  part  in  the  proceeding 
by  accompanying  his  surrender  of  the  Earl  with 
a  hypocritical  request  that  his  life  might  be  spared  ; 
but  it  seems  impossible  that  he  should  have  had 

i  State  Papers,  Scotland,  April  16,  May  i,  2,  and  7,  1572. 


BB.  THOMAS  PERCY  AND  THOMAS  PLUMTREE     171 


any  doubt  as  to  Elizabeth's  intention  in  demanding 
him.  The  delivery  of  the  Earl  to  Lord  Hunsdon 
took  place  at  Eyemouth,  near  to  Coldingham,  on 
May  the  29th,  and  thence  on  the  same  day  he  was 
conveyed  to  Berwick.  Sander  relates  that  his 
heartless  keeper  at  Lochleven,  in  placing  him  upon 
the  vessel  which  was  to  carry  him  to  Coldingham, 
had  treacherously  endeavoured  to  persuade  him  that 
he  was  about  to  be  set  free,  and  conveyed  across 
the  sea  to  Flanders  ;  and  that  the  meek  confessor 
of  Christ,  although  suspecting  some  deceit,  had 
bestowed  a  parting  kiss  on  his  betrayer,  in  imitation 
of  his  Master. 

Hunsdon,  who  had  probably  expected  to  find  his 
prisoner  either  querulous  or  sullen,  and  who  was 
hardly  likely  to  understand  aright  the  calmness,  even 
in  the  midst  of  danger  and  of  sorrow,  of  one  who 
had  given  up  all  earthly  things  for  God,  remarks 
with  something  of  a  sneer,  in  announcing  the  Earl's 
surrender  to  Lord  Burghley,  that  "he  is  readier  to 
talk  of  hawks  and  hounds  than  anything  else,  though 
very  sorrowful  and  fearing  for  his  life."1  He  did 
not  see  that  he  had  no  right  to  expect  a  prisoner  to 
discuss  with  his  captor  the  things  which  really  lay 
deepest  in  his  heart.  Still,  that  Lord  Hunsdon  was 
not  without  some  sense  of  the  disgraceful  nature  of 
the  transaction  to  which  he  was  a  party,  appears  from 
the  remark,  which  Sander  says  he  made  on  paying 
down  the  price  of  the  Earl's  blood  to  the  Scotch 
lord  who  surrendered  him :  "  You  have  got  your 
money,  but  you  have  sold  your  faith  and  honour !  " 

1  State  Papers,  Scotland,  May  29,  1572. 


1 72     BB.  THOMAS  PERCY  AND  THOMAS  PLUMTREE 

As  soon  as  Elizabeth  heard  that  the  Earl  had  been 
actually  surrendered,  she  wrote  herself  to  Hunsdon, 
giving  instructions  with  reference  to  his  confinement, 
and  enclosing  a  long  list  of  questions,  drawn  up  by 
Burghley,  to  which  a  written  answer  was  to  be  re 
quired  from  him.  "  You  may  use  speeches,"  wrote 
the  Queen,  "to  terrify  him  with  the  extremity  of 
punishment  if  he  shall  conceal  anything.  As  you 
see  cause,  you  may  also  comfort  him  with  hope,  so 
as  it  be  not  in  onv  name,  if  he  will  utter  the  truth  of 
every  person.  .  .  .  We  like  not  any  chargeable 
entertainment  of  him  in  his  diet,  considering  him  as 
a  person  attainted."1 

Reference  has  been  already  several  times  made 
to.  the  Earl's  full  and  careful  answers  to  these 
questions,  which  have  been  published,  with  all  their 
quaintness  both  of  phrase  and  spelling,  by  Sir 
Cuthbert  Sharpe.2  Surely  it  is  impossible  to  read 
them  without  being  struck  by  the  singleness  of 
purpose  and  scrupulous  regard  to  conscience  which 
characterized  his  whole  conduct  with  reference  to 
the  Rising. 

"  Entertainment,"  such  as  accorded  with  the 
instructions  of  the  Queen,  seems  to  have  been  found 
for  him  in  the  house  of  Sir  Valentine  Browne,  the 
Treasurer  of  Berwick,  whose  report  of  him  to 
Lord  Burghley,  as  "  nothing  altered  from  his  old 
mummish  opinions,  which  he  would  persuade  to  be 
taken  as  the  cause  of  the  rebellion,"3  is  a  fresh 

1  Domestic  Calendar,  Addenda,  June  5,  1572. 

2  Memorials  of  the  Rebellion,  pp.  189,  seq. 
3  Domestic  Calendar,  Addenda,  June  8,  1572. 


BB.  THOMAS  PERCY  AND  THOMAS  PLUMTREE     173 

testimony,  if  one  were  wanted,  to  the  confessor's 
fidelity  to  his  religion.  In  the  same  letter,  dated 
June  the  8th,  his  keeper  speaks  of  him  as  "  standing 
in  great  hope  of  Her  Majesty's  mercy,"  which  seems 
to  show  that  Hunsdon  had  acted  on  Elizabeth's 
insidious  permission  to  "  comfort  him  with  hope  " 
intended  by  her  never  to  receive  fulfilment. 

News  of  the  Queen's  orders  did  not  reach 
Berwick  till  July  the  nth,  on  which  day  Lord 
Hunsdon  received  instructions  to  convey  the  Earl  to 
York  for  execution.  A  further  delay  of  some  six 
weeks,  however,  followed,  occasioned  partly  by  the 
real  or  pretended  hesitation  of  the  Queen,  partly  by 
Hunsdon's  blunt  refusal  to  undertake  the  charge  of 
being  the  Earl's  "  carrier  .  .  to  execution  into  a 
place  where  he  had  nothing  to  do,"  though  at  the 
same  time  he  declared  himself  quite  willing  to 
"deliver  him  at  Alnwick,  but  no  further."1 

It  seems  to  have  been  during  this  latter  portion 
of  his  stay  at  Berwick  that  Blessed  Thomas  had  a 
violent  and  dangerous  attack  of  fever,  in  which  his 
one  anxiety,  as  Sander  tells  us,  was  his  fear  that  it 
might  rob  him  of  the  martyr's  crown. 

The  disagreeable  task  of  conducting  him  to  the 
place  where  he  was  to  be  martyred  was  entrusted, 
at  the  suggestion  of  Lord  Hunsdon,  to  Sir  John 
Forster,  on  whom  the  revenues  of  a  large  part  of 
the  attainted  nobleman's  estates  had  been  bestowed, 
together  with  the  use  of  Alnwick  Castle.  It  was  an 
undertaking  not  altogether  free  from  risk,  and  it  is 
evident  that  those  that  had  to  carry  it  out  were  not 

1  Ibid.  July  ii. 


i74     BB.  THOMAS  PERCY  AND  THOMAS  PLUMTREE 

without  anxiety.  Not  only  did  the  route  from 
Berwick  lead  necessarily  through  Northumberland, 
the  actual  earldom  of  their  victim — where,  as 
Hunsdon  himself  had  previously  written  to  the  Privy 
Council,  people  "  knew  no  other  prince  but  a  Percy," 
and  loved  in  particular  the  good  and  virtuous  Earl 
Thomas  "better  than  they  did  the  Queen"1— but 
Durham  and  a  great  part  of  Yorkshire,  the  chief 
scene  of  the  recent  Rising,  had  also  to  be  traversed. 
Accordingly,  with  the  duplicity  which  from  the  first 
had  characterized  the  proceedings  of  the  Earl's 
enemies,  they  diligently  spread  the  report  that  he 
was  about  to  be  reinstated  in  his  former  honours ; 
and  even  he  himself  seems  to  have  been  kept  in 
ignorance  of  the  orders  which  the  Queen  had  given, 
though  he  can  hardly  have  been  really  doubtful  as  to 
the  ultimate  result. 

Arrived  at  Alnwick,  his  own  feudal  castle,  he 
was  handed  over  to  Sir  John  Forster  on  August  the 
1 8th,  and  there  the  following  night  was  spent.  The 
journey  thence  to  York  was  broken  both  at  New 
castle  and  Darlington,  and  thus  occupied  three 
days;  and  in  consequence,  as  it  would  seem,  of  the 
weakness  left  by  his  late  illness,  the  Earl  was 
conveyed  in  a  carriage  surrounded  by  a  strong  guard 
of  horsemen.2  Friends  came  in  numbers  to  greet 
him  as  he  passed,  and  his  cheerful  and  intrepid 
expression  filled  them  with  admiration.  When  they 

1  Foreign  Calendar,   December  31,   1569;  and  Domestic  Calendar, 
Addenda,  January  13,  1570. 

2  The  strength  of  the  force  employed  is  shown    by   Forster's 
charge  of  £154   us.  4d.  for  his  journey  from  Alnwick  to  York  and 
back.  (Sharpe,  pp.  333,  334.) 


BB.  THOMAS  PERCY  AND  THOMAS  PLUMTREE     175 

offered  him  good  wishes  for  his  life  and  honour, 
Sander  says  that  he  replied  :  "  That  life  would  be 
more  pleasing  to  my  flesh  than  death — not  so  much 
on  account  of  myself,  as  of  rny  wife,  my  children, 
and  my  friends — I  neither  can  nor  will  deny, 
provided  that  my  conscience  be  not  injured.  For, 
rather  than  that  should  suffer,  let  death  come  and 
life  depart." 

York  was  reached  on  the  afternoon  of  August  the 
2ist,  a  mid-day  halt  having  been  made  at  Topcliffe, 
which  had  been  the  Earl's  last  place  of  residence 
before  the  Rising.  Here  it  seems  possible  he  may 
still  have  found  his  children,  and  have  been  allowed 
to  say  farewell  to  them.  We  are  not  told  where  he 
was  lodged  on  the  one  night  he  spent  in  York,  but 
we  may  presume  he  would  be  taken  to  the  Castle. 
This  presumption  falls  in  with  what  Sander  tells  us 
of  his  farewell  interview  with  Sir  Thomas  Metham, 
a  venerable  sufferer  for  the  Faith,  who,  together 
with  his  lady,  had  been  several  years  detained  as 
prisoners  in  York  Castle,  on  account  of  their  refusal 
to  attend  service,  or  receive  Communion  in  the 
Protestant  Church.1  "  He  had  formerly,"  says 
Sander,  "  been  united  in  close  intimacy  and  friend 
ship  with  the  Earl,  and  was  desirous  to  see  him 
enduring  imprisonment  for  our  Lord,  in  order  that 
his  own  constancy  in  his  holy  resolution  might  be 

1  A  letter  addressed  to  Cecil  (Domestic  Calendar,  Addenda),  dated 
York,  February  6,  1570,  describes  Sir  Thomas  Metham  as  a  "  most 
wilful  Papist.  ...  He  does  much  hurt  here,  and  is  reverenced  by 
Papists  as  a  pillar  of  their  faith.  ...  I  caused  him  to  be  committed 
to  the  Castle,  where  he  remains  and  does  harm,  yet  would  have 
done  more  if  he  had  remained  at  large." 


1 76     BB.  THOMAS  PERCY  AND  THOMAS  PLUMTREE 

strengthened  by  the  spectacle."  Having  obtained 
the  permission  of  his  keeper,  "  he  saw  him  and  held 
converse  with  him,  and  bade  him  a  last  adieu. 
Then  returning  to  his  own  place  of  confinement,  he 
gave  up  his  soul  to  God  a  few  days  afterwards,  so 
that  having  loved  each  other  in  life,  in  death  they 
were  not  divided." 

At  York  a  last  attempt  was  made  to  draw  the 
prisoner,  if  possible,  from  the  Catholic  Faith  ;  and 
his  life  (whether  with  the  Queen's  authority  or  not) 
was  offered  him  if  he  would  but  abandon  his 
religion.  Of  this  fact,  Sander  says,1  he  had  received 
most  certain  information ;  and  the  self-same  thing 
is  affirmed  by  Cardinal  Allen.2 

It  is  hardly  necessary  to  say  that  Blessed 
Thomas  refused  to  listen  to  an  offer  of  his  life  made 
dependent  on  such  a  condition ;  and  at  last,  about 
nine  o'clock  on  the  same  evening  (August  the  2ist), 
Sir  John  Forster,  seeing  that  he  could  not  induce 
him  to  alter  his  determination,  announced  to  him 
that  he  was  to  prepare  to  suffer  execution  about  two 
o'clock  on  the  afternoon  of  the  next  day. 

The  Earl  received  the  announcement  with  a  joy 

1  It  seems  necessary  to  caution  readers  against  a  most  strange 
mistake  made  by  Tierney  (in  a  note  to  Dodd's  History,  iii.  13)  with 
reference  to  this  offer  of  life  made  to  the  Earl.     Through  want  of 
attention  to  the  text  of  the  passage  from  which  he  is  quoting,  he 
makes   Sander  "  mention    it    only    as  auditum  quendam   incertum    et 
prceterea  nihil."     Due  care  in  reading  Sander  would  have  shown  him 
that  the  words,  "  auditum  quendam,'"  &c.,  refer,  not  to  the  offer  of  life 
made  to  the  Earl,  if  he  would  apostatize  (which  fact  Sander  says 
he  has  ab  auctoribus  certissiw.ee  fidei),  but  solely  to  a  ridiculous  report 
that  the  Earl  had  been  called  on  to  adore  an  image  of  Elizabeth. 

2  Responsio  ad  Persecutors.  Published  by  Bridgewater,  fol.  316. 


BB.  THOMAS  PERCY  AND  THOMAS  PLUMTREE     177 

which  impressed  even  his  enemies,  and  then  set 
himself,  as  was  his  wont,  to  prayer.  It  was  not 
long,  however,  before  he  was  interrupted  by  the 
return  of  Forster,  in  company  with  the  Protestant 
Dean  of  York,  and  a  minister  named  Palmer,  who 
had  come  to  argue  with  him.  His  success  in  repel 
ling  their  attacks  extorted  even  Forster's  admiration, 
who  was  heard  to  exclaim  next  day:  ''I  have  known 
the  Earl  of  Northumberland  for  many  years,  but 
never  have  I  seen  in  him  such  wisdom,  eloquence, 
and  modest  firmness  as  he  displayed  last  night." 
Finding  themselves  overcome  in  argument,  the  two 
ministers  requested  that  he  would  at  least  join  with 
them  in  prayer;  but  this  too  he  refused,  saying  that 
"he  knew  they  were  not  members  of  the  true  Church 
of  God." 

On  their  departure  he  again  applied  himself  with 
great  joy  to  prayer,  and,  though  urged  by  his  faithful 
attendant,  named  John  Clerk,  to  take  some  rest,  he 
replied  :  "  If  Christ  chid  His  disciples  for  not 
watching  one  hour  with  Him,  do  you  wish  me,  who 
have  so  little  of  life  left,  to  sleep  for  an  hour  ?  "  and 
thus  he  continued  in  this  holy  exercise  all  through 
the  night,  except  for  some  portion  of  an  hour,  when 
through  simple  weariness  he  fell  asleep  :  nor  would 
he  allow  himself  to  break  his  fast,  except  by  tasting 
a  few  plums.  When  the  hour  appointed  for  his 
death  drew  near,  making  the  sign  of  the  Cross  upon 
his  forehead  as  he  came  forth  bareheaded  from  his 
cell,  he  surrendered  himself  with  a  calm  and  steady 
countenance  into  the  hands  of  those  who  were  to 
conduct  him  to  the  broad  open  place  in  York,  known 


ii. 


178     BB.  THOMAS  PERCY  AND  THOMAS  PLUMTREE 

as  the  Pavement,  where  the  scaffold  had  been  set  up 
for  his  execution,  and  where  an  immense  crowd  had 
gathered. 

I  must  tell  the  story  of  his  martyrdom  in  the 
words  of  Sander,  merely  omitting  things  which  seem 
unnecessary.  "  On  arriving  at  the  place  of  execution 
the  Earl  took  off  his  cloak,  and  again  making  the 
sign  of  the  Cross,  not  only  on  his  forehead,  but  also 
on  the  steps,  he  mounted  cheerfully  to  the  platform, 
where  Palmer,  the  same  Protestant  minister  who 
had  visited  him  the  night  before,  began  to  urge  him 
to  acknowledge  his  crime  against  the  Queen  in  the 
presence  of  the  assembled  crowd. 

"  On  this  the  Earl,  turning  towards  the  people, 
said  :  '  I  should  have  been  content  to  meet  my 
death  in  silence,  were  it  not  that  I  see  it  is  the 
custom  for  those  who  undergo  this  kind  of  punish 
ment  to  address  some  words  to  the  bystanders  as  to 
the  cause  of  their  being  put  to  death.  Know,  there 
fore,  that,  from  my  earliest  years  down  to  this 
present  day,  I  have  held  the  Faith  of  that  Church 
which,  throughout  the  whole  Christian  world,  is 
knit  and  bound  together;  and  that  in  this  same 
Faith  I  am  about  to  end  this  unhappy  life.  But.  as 
for  this  new  Church  of  England,  I  do  not  acknow 
ledge  it.' 

"  Here  Palmer,  interrupting  him,  cried  out  in  a 
loud  voice  :  '  I  see  that  you  are  dying  an  obstinate 
Papist ;  a  member,  not  of  the  Catholic,  but  of  the 
Roman  Church.' 

"  To  this  the  Earl  replied  :   '  That  which  you  call 


BB.  THOMAS  PERCY  AND  THOMAS  PLUMTREE     179 

the  Roman  Church  is  the  Catholic  Church,  which 
has  been  founded  on  the  teaching  of  the  Apostles, 
Jesus  Christ  Himself  being  its  corner-stone,  strength 
ened  by  the  blood  of  Martyrs,  honoured  by  the 
recognition  of  the  holy  Fathers;  and  it  continues 
always  the  same,  being  the  Church  against  which, 
as  Christ  our  Saviour  said,  the  gates  of  Hell  shall 
not  prevail.' 

"  When  Palmer  tried  a  second  time  to  interrupt 
him,  the  Earl  said  :  '  Cease,  pray,  to  further  trouble 
me,  for  of  this  truth  my  mind  and  conscience  are 
most  thoroughly  convinced.'  And  when  Palmer 
still  would  not  be  silent,  the  Earl,  turning  to  the 
people,  said  :  '  Beware,  beloved  brothers,  of  these 
ravening  wolves,  who  come  to  you  in  the  clothing 
of  sheep,  whilst,  meantime,  they  are  the  men  that 
devour  your  souls.'  At  this,  rushing  straight  down 
from  the  platform,  as  though  he  had  received  a 
blow,  Palmer  left  the  Earl  free  to  finish  his  address. 
'To  me  it  has  been  a  grievous  sorrow/  he 
continued,  'that,  in  consequence  of  an  occasion 
furnished  in  a  manner  by  myself,  so  many  of  the 
common  people  have  been  put  to  a  violent  death 
for  the  zeal  with  which  they  strove  to  further  God's 
religion,  and  clung  also  personally  to  myself.  Would 
that  by  my  own  death  I  might  have  saved  their 
lives !  and  yet  I  have  no  fear  but  that  their  souls 
have  obtained  the  glory  of  Heaven.' 

'As  to  other  matters  brought  against  me,  they 
are  already  fully  explained  in  my  answers  to  the 
questions  set  me  by  the  Privy  Council ;  but  I  know 
that  in  them  there  is  no  room  for  mercy,  and 


i8o     BB.  THOMAS  PERCY  AND  THOMAS  PLUMTREE 

therefore  from  them  I  expect  none :  but  from  Him 
alone,  whom  I  know  to  be  the  author  of  all  mercy, 
who  will,  as  I  truly  believe,  grant  mercy  to  me.' 

"  After  commending  to  his  brother's  care  his 
children,  his  servants,  and  some  small  debts,1  he 
begged  all  present  to  forgive  him,  declaring  that  he 
on  his  part  forgave  all  from  his  heart.  Then 
kneeling  down  he  finished  his  prayers. 

"Then,  after  kissing  a  cross,  which  he  traced 
upon  the  ladder  of  the  scaffold,  with  his  arms  so 
folded  on  his  breast  as  to  form  a  cross,  he  stretched 
himself  upon  the  block ;  and  as  soon  as  he  had  said, 
*  Lord,  receive  my  soul !  '  the  executioner  struck  off 
his  head.  At  that  same  instant,  a  great  groan,  which 
sounded  like  a  roll  of  thunder,  burst  from  the 
weeping  spectators,  as  with  one  voice  they  called 
on  God  to  receive  his  soul  into  eternal  rest. 

"  It  was  thought  very  wonderful  that,  from  the 
moment  of  his  laying  himself  upon  the  block,  he 
gave  not  even  the  smallest  sign  of  fear,  and  made  no 
movement  whatsoever,  either  of  head  or  body. 

"The  people  gathered  up  the  martyr's  blood  so 
diligently  with  handkerchiefs  and  linen  cloths,  that 
not  even  a  straw  stained  with  it  was  suffered  to 
remain  without  their  carrying  it  home  to  be  treasured 

1  His  brother,  Sir  Henry  Percy,  who  succeeded  him  in  the 
earldom,  was  at  this  time  a  prisoner  in  the  Tower,  on  a  charge  of 
conspiracy  to  free  the  Queen  of  Scots.  His  return  to  the  Faith 
seems  to  have  dated  from  about  this  time,  and  he  incurred  in  conse 
quence  the  severe  displeasure  of  Elizabeth.  After  being  long 
restricted  as  to  his  place  of  residence,  and  continually  watched  by 
spies,  he  was  again  thrown  into  the  Tower,  on  no  definite  accusa 
tion ;  and  at  length  was  murdered  there,  in  1585 — on  account,  as 
Catholics  believed,  of  his  religion. 


BB.  THOMAS  PERCY  AND  THOMAS  PLUMTREE     181 

as  a  sacred  relic.  For  throughout  his  life,"  Sander 
concludes,  "  he  was  beyond  measure  dear  to  the 
whole  people." 

Thus,  at  the  comparatively  early  age  of  forty- 
four,  did  Blessed  Thomas  Percy  win  his  crown  in 
the  year  1572,  on  August  the  22nd,  the  octave-day 
of  the  Assumption  of  our  Lady,  and,  as  it  happened, 
on  a  Friday.  A  despatch,  sent  a  few  days  later  to 
Lord  Burghley,1  informs  us  that  the  actual  hour  of 
his  death  was  three  o'clock.  He  thus  had  the 
privilege  of  expiring  at  the  same  hour  as  our  Blessed 
Lord,  for  whom  he  laid  down  his  life. 

Drake's  History  of  York  ~  supplies  the  following 
particulars  with  reference  to  his  burial :  "His  head 
was  set  up  on  a  high  pole  on  Micklegate  Bar,  where 
it  continued  for  two  years,  but  was  afterwards  stolen 
from  thence.  The  body  was  buried  in  Crux  Church 
by  two  of  his  servants,  where  it  now  lies  without 
any  memorial." 

Since  Drake  wrote,  the  Church  of  Holy  Crux, 
which  stood  at  one  end  of  the  Pavement,  has  been 
pulled  down,  and  the  site  built  over.3  All  exact 
traces  of  the  tomb  of  Blessed  Thomas  Percy  seem 
thus  unfortunately  to  be  lost  at  present.  At  Stony- 
hurst  College  there  is  preserved  one  of  the  Thorns 
from  the  Crown  of  our  Blessed  Lord,  which  had 
been  given  to  the  martyred  Earl  by  Mary  Queen  of 

1  Domestic  Calendar,  Addenda,  September  2. 

2  Tom.  i.  p.  143.     Edition  of  1788. 

3  This  was  done  in   1887,  through  the  influence  of  Archbishop 
Thompson,  and  in  spite  of  the  protests  of  Earl  Percy  (now  Duke 
of  Northumberland)  and  of  archaeologists  in  general. 


1 82     BB.  THOMAS  PERCY  AND  THOMAS  PLUMTREE 

Scots,  as  a  proof  of  her  grateful  appreciation  of  his 
services.  "The  Earl,"  writes  M.  de  Fonblanque, 
"  had  worn  it,  mounted  in  a  golden  cross,  around  his 
neck  to  the  day  of  his  death,  when  he  bequeathed 
it  to  his  eldest  daughter,  Elizabeth  ;  "  who  "  in  her 
turn  gave,  or  bequeathed  it,  to  the  Jesuit  Father 
Gerard."  The  golden  casket,  in  which  it  is  now 
enclosed,  bears,  says  the  same  writer,  the  following 
inscription  :  "  Hsec  spina  de  Corona  Domini  sancta 
fuit  primo  Marise  Reginse  Scotiae,  Martyris,  et  ab  ea 
data  Comiti  Northumbrise,  Martyri,  qui  in  morte 
misit  illam  filise  suse,  Elizabeths,  qua?  dedit 
Societati."1  The  Countess  of  Northumberland  sur 
vived  her  husband's  martyrdom  for  more  than 
twenty  years.  She  bore  with  edifying  patience  the 
sufferings  and  privations  of  her  exile  till  her  death, 
which  took  place  at  Namur  in  1596.  Her  youngest 
daughter,  the  Lady  Mary  Percy,  who  seems  to  have 
been  born  during  the  Earl's  imprisonment  at 
Lochleven,2  became  the  foundress  in  1598  of  a 
community  of  Benedictine  Nuns  at  Brussels,  since 
removed  to  the  Abbey  of  St.  Mary  at  East  Bergholt, 
where  it  still  flourishes.  Amongst  these  good 
Religious,  who  playfully  speak  of  the  martyred 
father  of  their  foundress  as  their  "grandfather," 
the  memory  of  the  Blessed  Thomas  Percy  has  been 
ever  held  in  special  veneration. 

1  Annals  of  the  House  of  Percy,  ii.  121,  122. 

2  A  MS.,  quoted  in  the  Catholic  Magazine  of  August,  1838,  gives 
June  n,  1570,  as  the  date  of  Lady  Mary  Percy's  birth,  which  would 
thus  seem  to  have  occurred  during  her  mother's  residence  at  Old 
Aberdeen. 


BB.  THOMAS  PERCY  AND  THOMAS  PLUMTREE     183 


APPENDIX. 

Mention  has  been  made  in  the  foregoing  pages 
of  a  book  of  prayers,  which  Sander  tells  us  the 
martyred  Earl  wrote  with  his  own  hand,  partly 
during  his  earlier  years,  partly  during  his  imprison 
ment  at  Lochleven.  The  following  are  Sander's 
words,  in  speaking  of  the  latter  period. 

"  Sometimes  he  spent  whole  days  till  even  late 
at  night  upon  his  knees.  And  in  this  holy  exercise 
so  great  was  his  delight,  not  only  in  his  previous 
life,  but  more  than  ever  then  ;  that  when,  through 
bodily  weakness,  he  could  neither  go  on  kneeling, 
nor  recite  prayers  walking  up  and  down,  he  would 
betake  himself  to  writing,  and  yet  wrote  nothing 
else  but  holy  prayers.  I  myself  have  seen  a  fair 
sized  book,  elegantly  written  and  illuminated  by  his 
own  hand,  into  which  he  had  brought  together  a 
quantity  of  prayers  gathered  out  of  various  works. 
Of  which  labour  this  seemed  to  me  the  most 
abundant  fruit,  that  when  he  himself  could  pray 
no  longer,  his  handwriting  still  continued  ever 
pleading  for  him." 

Happily  the  book  itself,  thus  spoken  of  by  Sander, 
is  still  in  existence;  and,  thanks  to  the  kindness 
of  its  present  owner,  Mr.  George  Browne,  of  Trout- 
beck,  Kendal,  in  entrusting  it  for  a  brief  space  to 
the  Bishop  of  Hexham  and  Newcastle,  I  am  able 
here  to  give  some  account  of  it.  That  the  existing 
volume  was  once  at  least  the  property  of  Blessed 

1  Martyrium,  &c.,  Bridgewater,  fol.  46. 


1 84  BB.  THOMAS  PERCY  AND  THOMAS  PLUMTREE 

Thomas  Percy  is  shown  by  internal  evidence 
which  will  not  admit  of  question.  In  several  of 
the  prayers  his  name  is  introduced  :  "  Me,  thy 
unworthy  servant  Thomas  Percy,"  and  the  first 
five  pages  display  coats  of  arms  belonging  to  his 
family.  The  first  three  quarters  of  the  book  are 
elaborately  written  and  decorated,  and  contain  the 
date  (fol.  15)  1555.  One  of  the  prayers  is  a  ''General 
Confession"  in  English,  and  is  especially  noteworthy 
because  the  Blessed  Martyr  (who  seems  to  have 
taken  it  from  some  primer  published  during  the 
schism)  has  carefully  corrected  some  erroneous  or  ill- 
sounding  expressions  which  occur  in  it.  Thus  the 
prayer  runs  :  "  Graunt  nowe  that  ...  we  may  be 
faithfull  true  and  obedient  unto  the  quene  our 
soveraigne  ladie  and  supreme  hed  ^  immediatly 
under  Christe."  After  the  word  "  hed  "  the  Blessed 
Martyr  has  inserted  in  the  margin  "  in  teniporall 
matters.1"  It  is  thus  a  witness  to  his  fervent 
orthodoxy. 

The  second  part  of  the  book  differs  greatly  in 
its  style  of  execution  from  the  first,  and  was  evidently 
written  at  a  late  period  of  his  life.  At  the  head  of 
the  first  page  stands  his  name  "  Northumberland." 
The  writing  seems  to  be  that  of  a  man  made  pre 
maturely  old  by  suffering,  and  no  longer  thoughtful 
of  appearances.  This  part  of  the  book  apparently 
contains  the  prayers  which  the  Earl  wrote,  as 
Sander  tells  us,  during  his  confinement  in  Lochleven 
Castle,  1570 — 1572.  Among  the  more  striking  of 
these  prayers  are  those  to  his  Guardian  Angel, 
St.  George,  and  All  Saints.  They  occur  in  Latin 


BB.  THOMAS  PERCY  AND  THOMAS  PLUMTREE     185 

in  the  primer  of  1517,  and  were  evidently  favourites 
with  our  forefathers.  They  take  the  form  of  a 
;<  Memorial"  or  "Commemoration,"  i.e.,  they  consist 
of  antiphon,  versicle  and  response,  and  collect. 

In  the  spirit  of  humble  penitence  which  is  so 
remarkable  throughout,  the  book  concludes  with 
prayers  for  Confession,  and  a  long  and  minute  form 
of  examination  of  conscience. 

G.  E.  P. 

AUTHORITIES.— The  fullest  accounts  yet  published  of 
Blessed  Thomas  Percy,  the  yth  Earl  of  Northumberland, 
seem  to  be  those  given  in  De  Fonblanque's  Annals  of  the 
House  of  Percy,  1887,  vol.  ii.  pp.  3—125  ;  and  in  Collins's  Peerage 
of  England,  1779,  vol.  ii.  p.  386,  in  an  article  on  the  Dukes  of 
Northumberland  by  Thomas  Percy,  Protestant  Bishop  of 
Dromore. 

For  the  Rising  of  the  North  the  authorities  chiefly  followed 
have  been  the  various  Calendars  of  State  Papers  of  the  period, 
particularly  Domestic,  Addenda,  1566—1579;  Sir  Cuthhert 
Sharpe's  Memorials  of  the  Rebellion  of  1569,  1840,  in  which  a 
number  of  the  Bon>es  Papers  are  published  ;  and  Lingard's 
History  of  England. 

The  account  of  what  was  done  in  Durham,  during  the 
brief  restoration  of  the  Catholic  religion,  is  taken  from  the 
volume  of  the  Surtees  Society  for  1845,— Depositions  and 
Ecclesiastical  Proceedings  from  the  Courts  of  Durham. 

The  account  of  the  Earl's  martyrdom  is  from  Sander's 
Martyrium  sanctissimi  viri  Thomce  Percei,  Comitis  Northumbricz, 
published  after  its  author's  death,  in  Bridgewater's  Concertatio, 
1589. 

W.  Turnbull,  in  his  Letters  of  Mary  Queen  of  Scots  (p.  67), 
says  that  he  found  among  the  Medici  archives  at  Florence 
a  letter  written  to  the  Grand  Duke  of  Tuscany  by  his 
Resident  in  England,  giving  a  minute  description  of  the 
martyrdom.  A  careful  search  at  Florence  has  failed  to  bring 
to  light  any  such  document,  and  it  seems  clear  that  Turnbull 
confused  the  Earl  with  Dudley,  Duke  of  Northumberland,  of 


1 86    BB.  THOMAS  PERCY  AND  THOMAS  PLUMTREE 

whose  execution   in   the  reign  of  Queen  Mary  there  is   an 
account  among  these  papers. 

PORTRAITS  of  B.Thomas  Percy  are  published  by  De  Fon- 
blanque,  from  a  painting  at  Alnwick  Castle;  and  by  Sir 
C.  Sharpe,  from  a  painting  at  Petworth  made  in  1566,  when 
the  Earl  was  in  his  thirty-eighth  year. 

What  is  known  of  B.  Thomas  Plumtree  is  gathered  from 
the  same  sources,  and  from  a  brief  notice  of  his  martyrdom 
in  Sander's  De  Visibili  Monarchia,  1571. 


IV. 

THE    BLESSED   THOMAS   WOODHOUSE. 
London,  13  June,  1573. 

IN  the  spring  of  1561  a  new  phase  of  the 
religious  persecution  began.  Up  to  that  time  there 
had  been  but  little  violence  shown,  for  little  had 
been  needed.  The  Catholic  Church  had  not  fallen 
without  some  struggle.  So  long  as  they  remained 
free,  the  churchmen  had  most  unequivocally  pro 
claimed  their  faith  in  the  ancient  Church,  and 
Elizabeth  did  not  at  first  dare  to  show  that  she 
meant  to  lead  the  realm  into  heresy.  She  gave 
herself  out  as  a  Catholic,  though  leaving  herself 
free  to  make  reforms.  Then  she  prohibited  preach 
ing,  pretending  that  it  would  lead  to  disturbances. 
By  imprisoning  a  few  Bishops  she  enabled  her 
party  to  obtain  the  votes  in  Parliament  necessary  to 
give  her  Supremacy  Bill  the  semblance  of  legality, 
and  after  that,  by  depriving  the  more  courageous 
of  the  clergy,  she  forced  her  new  liturgy  upon  the 
country.  Unfortunately  the  amount  of  violence 
necessary  was  but  small,  for  the  subservience  of 
England  to  the  tyranny  of  the  Tudors  was  lament 
able.  But  this  country  was  not  then  as  insular 
as  it  was  soon  to  become,  and  the  Catholics 


i88  BLESSED    THOMAS    WOODHOUSE 

still  hoped  that  the  influence  of  the  Pope  and  of 
their  co-religionists  on  the  Continent  might  win 
them  relief.  On  his  side  the  Pope  twice  tried  to 
send  envoys  to  Elizabeth,  but  in  vain.  Excuses 
were  made  for  refusing  them  admission  into 
England,  and  on  the  second  occasion  Sir  William 
Cecil  frightened  the  Queen  by  affecting  to  have 
discovered  a  plot  against  her  amongst  the  Catholics, 
though  when  the  charges  were  formulated  the  real 
offence  was  found  to  be  that  they  had  celebrated 
or  attended  Mass.1  Amongst  those  apprehended 
was  Blessed  Thomas  Woodhouse,  who  was  com 
mitted  on  the  i4th  of  May,  1561,  to  the  Fleet  Prison, 
where  he  was  admitted  as  a  "pore  priest"  who 
could  not  pay  for  his  keep,  but  lived  on  precarious 
charity.2 

For  the  chief  facts  which  we  are  able  to  relate 
of  this  noble  servant  of  Christ  we  are  indebted  to 
a  narrative  written  and  forwarded  to  Rome  by 
Father  Henry  Garnet,  S.J.,  and  first  printed  in  the 
second  volume  of  the  Catholic  Spectator,  in  the  year 

4.3 

Sir    Thomas     Woodhouse,    as    he    was    styled 

1  A  short  account  of  the  missions  of  Parpaglia  and  Martinengo 
will  be  found  in  The  Month  for  January,  1902. 

2  Richard  Simpson  in  the  Rambler,  vol.  x.  p.  20. 

:i  Brother  Foley,  S.J.,  who  re-edits  Father  Garnet's  Relation,  in 
the  seventh  volume  of  his  Records  of  the  English  Province  of  the  Society 
of  Jesus,  from  the  Stonyhurst  MSS.  vol.  i.  n.  3,  does  not  seem  to 
be  aware  that  it  had  been  published  sixty  years  earlier.  The  late 
Mr.  Simpson  was  certainly  unaware  of  its  existence  when  he  wrote 
the  article  in  the  Rambler  to  which  we  have  referred.  An  earlier 
but  shorter  narrative,  dated  1574,  exists  in  the  Archives  of  the 
Society,  of  which  Foley  gives  an  abstract  in  Records,  vii.  p.  1257. 


BLESSED    THOMAS    WOODHOUSE 


according  to  the  ancient  usage,  had  been  ordained 
priest  towards  the  end  of  Queen  Mary's  reign.  He 
was  made  Rector  of  a  Lincolnshire  parish,  but  had 
held  it  less  than  a  year  when  the  persecuting  laws 
of  Elizabeth  obliged  him  to  leave  the  place.  He 
took  refuge,  in  1560,  in  the  house  of  a  gentleman 
in  Wales,  and  taught  his  sons,  but  was  unable  to 
remain  there  long.  It  was  the  next  year  that  while 
at  the  altar,  in  the  act  of  saying  Mass,  he  was  seized 
and  thrown  into  prison. 

He  was  a  prisoner  for  our  Lord  during  twelve 
years,  and  all  this  time  gave  the  example  of  a  very 
holy  life.  The  details  that  have  come  down  to  us 
show  in  him  a  strong  individuality  of  character,  in 
which  great  simplicity,  boldness,  and  a  gentle  zeal 
were  the  chief  features. 

During  the  plague  which  raged  in  London  in 
T563>  Tyrrel,  the  warder  of  Fleet  Prison,  was  allowed 
to  remove  all  prisoners  for  the  Faith  to  his  own 
house  in  Cambridgeshire.  Here  Blessed  Thomas, 
knowing  him  to  be  a  Catholic  at  heart,  publicly 
reproved  him  for  eating  meat  in  Lent,  and  declared 
if  he  continued  to  do  so  he  would  not  stay  in  the 
house.  The  warder  laughed  good-humouredly,  think 
ing  his  prisoner  could  not  get  away  if  he  would.  But 
the  martyr  was  as  good  as  his  word,  and  one  day  he 
was  missing.  Tyrrel  sent  in  alarm  to  have  search 
made  for  him  in  London,  when  it  was  found  that 
he  had  gone  quietly  back  to  his  old  prison  in  the 
Fleet.  He  was  equally  sturdy  in  refusing  to 
uncover  when  heretics  said  grace  at  table.  On 
one  occasion  where  this  was  complained  of,  he  was 


i go  BLESSED   THOMAS    WOODHOUSE 

set  in  the  stocks.  But  for  all  his  uncompromising 
ways  he  won  general  confidence  and  affection,  and 
was  allowed  a  good  deal  of  liberty.  He  had  the 
freedom  of  the  prison,  and  was  even  able  to  make 
secret  excursions  to  his  friends  in  the  day. 

He  was  fearless  in  all  that  concerned  God's 
service.  He  not  only  recited  his  Office  regularly, 
but  said  Mass  daily  in  his  room  in  the  prison,  and 
was  unmoved  by  the  more  timid  or  prudent  counsels 
given  him  by  fellow-prisoners.  Once,  when  some 
of  the  heretics,  who  had  got  scent  of  what  was 
going  on,  hammered  at  the  door  with  repeated 
blows,  he  turned  to  those  who  were  with  him,  just 
before  the  Consecration,  and  promised  them  they 
should  not  be  taken ;  and  so  it  was,  for  the  intruders 
went  away.  In  the  same  undaunted  spirit  he  made 
use  of  every  opportunity  to  make  converts,  entirely 
disregarding  the  peril.  Having  received  a  Mr. 
Gascoigne,  a  prisoner  for  debt,  the  fact  was  reported 
by  some  of  the  Protestants.  Gascoigne  asked  him 
what  he  should  answer  if  he  was  questioned  as  to 
who  had  received  him,  "for  I,"  he  said,  "will  never 
deny  that  I  am  reconciled."  Blessed  Thomas  in 
reply  urged  him  to  say  without  hesitation  that  he 
had  reconciled  him,  for  he  was  ready  to  avouch  it 
with  his  blood. 

His  perfect  freedom  from  fear  was  not  ordinary 
courage ;  it  came  from  a  veritable  longing  for 
martyrdom.  One  day  people  came  to  tell  the 
Catholic  prisoners  that  a  new  Act  had  been  passed 
by  Parliament  the  day  before,  which  would  bring 
all  Catholics  to  the  gallows ;  upon  which  he  knelt 


BLESSED    THOMAS    WOODHOUSE  191 


down,  and  with  bared  head  prayed  to  God  that  he 
might  be  the  first.  When  Blessed  John  Store}*  was 
sentenced  to  death,  Woodhouse  conceived  the  simple 
idea  that  he  might  by  some  means  or  other  make 
interest  with  the  Council  to  let  him  take  his  place 
and  suffer  death  for  him,  and  ''with  many  fair 
words,  some  gift  in  hand  and  large  promises,"  tried 
to  get  his  keeper  to  enter  into  his  scheme  and  help 
him  to  carry  it  out. 

It  was  with  the  same  mingled  simplicity,  zeal, 
and  fearlessness  that  in  the  twelfth  year  of  his 
captivity  he  wrote  to  Lord  Treasurer  Burghley  a 
letter  which  led  to  his  martyrdom.1  It  bears  date 
the  igth  of  November,  1572,  and  runs  thus  : 

"JESUS. 

'*  Your  lordship  will  peradventure  marvel  at  my 
boldness  that  dare  presume  to  interpell  your  wisdom, 
being  occupied  about  so  great  and  weighty  affairs 
touching  the  state  of  the  whole  realm.  Howbeit  I 
have  conceived  that  opinion  of  your  Lordship's 
humanity,  that  ye  will  not  condemn  any  man's 
good-will,  how  simple  or  mean  soever  he  be  ;  which 
maketh  me  bold  at  this  present  to  communicate  my 
poor  advice,  what  is  very  requisite  and  best  for  your 
Lordship  to  do  in  so  great  and  ponderous  affairs. 

1  Father  Garnet  and  the  author  of  the  Relation  of  1574,  knew 
something  of  this  letter,  perhaps  from  a  draft  or  duplicate  preserved 
by  the  martyr.  Mr.  Simpson  had  the  good  fortune  to  find  the 
original  amongst  the  Burghley  Papers  in  the  British  Museum, 
"  classed  with  a  series  of  madmen's  letters,  such  as  we  suppose  all 
public  men  are  used  to  receive  now  and  then."  Mr.  Simpson  pub 
lished  it  in  the  Rambler  article  already  referred  to. 


1 92  BLESSED   THOMAS    WOODHOUSE 

Forasmuch  therefore  as  our  Lord  and  God,  Jesus 
Christ,  hath  given  supreme  authority  unto  His 
blessed  Apostle  St.  Peter,  and  in  him  to  his  suc 
cessors  the  Bishops  of  Rome,  to  feed,  rule  and 
govern  His  sheep,  that  is  to  say  all  Christians,  at  such 
time  as  He  said  unto  the  same  His  Apostle  thrice, 
'  Feed  My  lambs,  feed  My  sheep,' — my  poor  advice  is 
that  ye  humbly  and  unfeignedly  even  from  the  very 
bottom  of  your  heart,  acknowledge  and  confess 
your  great  iniquity  and  offence  against  Almighty 
God,  especially  in  disobeying  that  supreme  authority 
and  power  of  the  See  Apostolic,  so  ordained  and 
established  by  the  King  of  kings  and  Lord  of  lords, 
Jesus  Christ ;  and  that  in  all  dutiful  manner  and 
apparent  fruits  of  penance  ye  seek  to  be  reconciled 
unto  that  your  supreme  prince  and  pastor  here  in 
earth,  appointed  and  assigned  unto  you  by  your 
Lord  God  and  Redeemer,  Jesus  Christ.  Likewise 
that  ye  earnestly  persuade  the  Lady  Elizabeth, 
who  for  her  own  great  disobedience  is  most  justly 
deposed,  to  submit  herself  unto  her  spiritual  prince 
and  father,  the  Pope's  Holiness,  and  with  all 
humility  to  reconcile  herself  unto  him,  that  she 
may  be  the  child  of  salvation.  Now  your  Lordship 
hath  heard  my  poor  advice,  which  if  your  wisdom 
shall  not  disdain  to  follow,  I  hope  it  shall  turn 
through  the  mercy  of  God  to  the  preservation  of 
our  dear  country,  and  to  a  most  flourishing  and 
happy  state  in  the  Christian  Commonwealth,  and 
shall  also  redound  unto  your  eternal  salvation, 
honour  and  glory.  But  if,  which  God  forbid,  ye 
shall  contemn  or  neglect  the  same,  I  fear  it  will  be 


BLESSED   THOMAS    IVOODHOUSE  193 

to  the  great  desolation  and  ruin  of  our  beloved 
country  and  people,  and  to  the  utter  subversion  and 
perishing  of  you  and  yours  for  ever  in  hell ;  where 
is  the  gnawing  worm,  where  is  the  unquenchable 
fire,  where  is  weeping  and  gnashing  of  teeth.  Dixi. 
"  My  lord,  for  this  my  poor  advice  I  require  no 
other  thing  of  your  Lordship  but  that  ye  will  not 
molest  by  any  means  this  bearer,  who  is  wholly 
ignorant  of  the  contents  and  a  hot  Protestant  ;  nor 
yet  the  guardian,  nor  yet  the  gaolers,  who  are 
likewise  ignorant  of  my  doings;  for  they  lock  me 
up  more  closely  than  I  think  your  honour  would 
they  should,  and  suppose  I  have  neither  pen,  nor 
ink,  nor  messenger. 

"  Your  honour's  humble  and  daily  beadsman, 
"THOMAS  WOODDUS." 

The  third   or   fourth   day  after  the   despatch  of 
this     characteristic    letter,1    the    holy    priest    was 

1  Apparently  the  washerwoman  of  the  Fleet  was  the  bearer ; 
one  day  after  Mass  the  martyr  gave  her  the  letter  to  deliver 
to  one  of  Lord  Burghley's  servants,  which  done,  she  was  to  return 
without  having  said  a  word.  The  last  lines  of  an  imperfect  Latin 
account  of  the  martyr  in  flowing  hexameters  will  serve  as  a 
specimen  of  the  whole  : 

Cum  sic  intrantem  Christi  fortissimus  her&s 
Lotricem  alloquitur,  sacris  de  more  peractis, 
"  I  mea,  dixit,  anus,  Burlao  hac  scripta  Baroni, 
Aut  uni  e  famuli s  Domino  tradenda  relinque. 
Nee  tibi  languenti  pne  limine  crede  morandum, 
Nee  verbis  opus  esse  puta,  sese  indice  prodent 
Scripta  suo.  tu  lenta  retro  vestigia  torque." 
Excipit  ilia  sinu  venturi  ignara  tabcllas. 
Nee  mora,  linteolis,  et  rebus  onusta  lavandis 
Custodem,  tortis  scripto  latitante  capillis 
Decipit,  atque  audax  ad  nota  palatia  tend.it. 
N  II. 


194  BLESSED   THOMAS    WOODHOUSE 

summoned  to  the  Lord  Treasurer's  presence.  He 
went  in  his  "priest's  gown  and  cornered  cap."  The 
interview  must  be  related  verbatim  from  Father 
Garnet's  account. 

Mr.  Treasurer  "seeing  him  such  a  silly  [simple] 
little  body  as  he  was,  seemed  to  despise  him,  saying, 
'  Sirrah,  was  it  you  that  wrote  me  a  letter  the  other 
day?'  'Yes,  sir,'  saith  Mr.  Woodhouse,  approach 
ing  as  near  his  nose  as  he  could,  and  casting  up  his 
head  to  look  him  in  the  face.  '  That  it  was,  even  I, 
if  your  name  be  Cecil ; '  whereat  the  Treasurer 
staying  awhile,  said  more  coldly  than  before, 
'  Why,  sir,  will  ye  acknowledge  me  none  other 
name  nor  title  than  Mr.  Cecil?'  '  No,  sir,'  saith 
Mr.  Woodhouse.  'And  why  so  ? '  saith  the  Treasurer. 
'Because,'  saith  Woodhouse,  'she  that  gave  you 
those  names  and  titles  had  no  authority  so  to  do.' 
'And  why  so?'  saith  the  Treasurer.  'Because,' 
saith  Woodhouse,  '  our  holy  Father  the  Pope  hath 
deposed  her.'  'Thou  art  a  traitor,'  saith  the 
Treasurer.  '  Non  est  discipulus  super  Magistrum,' 
saith  Mr.  Woodhouse.  Then  the  Treasurer  paused 
awhile,  and  after,  said  unto  him,  '  In  the  super 
scription  of  thy  letter  thou  callest  me  Lord  Burghley, 
High  Treasurer  of  England.'  '  I  did  so,'  saith 
Woodhouse,  '  for  that  otherwise  I  knew  my  letter 
would  not  come  to  your  hands.'  Then  the  Treasurer 
began  to  dispute  with  him  against  the  Pope's 
authority,  and  the  other  did  defend  it  and  heated 
the  Treasurer  a  little.  At  last  he  grew  cold  again 
and  asked  Mr.  Woodhouse  if  he  would  be  his 
chaplain,  and  he  said,  'Yea.'  'And  wilt  thou  say 


BLESSED   THOMAS    WOODHOUSE 


Mass  in  my  house  ?  '  '  Yea,  that  I  will,'  saith 
Mr.  Woodhouse.  '  And  shall  I  come  to  it  ? '  saith 
the  Treasurer.  'No,'  saith  Woodhouse,  'that  ye 
shall  not,  unless  ye  will  be  reconciled  to  the  Catholic 
Church.'  And  so  he  was  sent  back  again  to  the 
Fleet,  where  he  was  separate  from  his  companions 
and  put  in  a  chamber  by  himself." 

But  his  zeal  still  found  means  to  communicate 
with  the  outer  world.  Father  Garnet  in  a  report 
to  the  Father  General  says  he  "  wrote  divers  papers, 
persuading  men  to  the  true  faith  and  obedience, 
which  he  signed  with  his  name,  tied  to  stones,  and 
threw  them  out  of  the  prison  window  into  the 
street."1 

Within  a  week  all  England  was  talking  of 
Mr.  Woodhouse's  bearding  of  the  great  Lord 
Treasurer.  The  Protestants  said  he  was  rnadr 
many  Catholics  reproached  him  with  rashness. 
Those  who  knew  his  holy  life  would  not  join  in 
such  judgments.  The  Council  would  have  been 
glad  to  favour  the  idea  of  his  being  mad,  and  sum 
moned  him  before  them  with  this  view.  He  "  made 
a  short  courtesy,  as  he  would  have  done  to  so  many 
gentlemen  of  worship."  They  told  him  to  kneel, 
but  he  refused  and  "  stood  still  upright."  "  Oh,  poor 
fool, "said  one  of  the  Council,  "the  Pope  hath  nothing 
to  do  in  this  realm."  He  answered,  "Christ  said 
unto  Peter,  Pasce  oves  meas,  pasce  agnos  meos,  and  I 
say  that  if  Christ  have  in  England  either  sheep  or 
lambs,  the  Pope  who  is  Peter's  successor,  hath  to 

1  Foley,   Records   of  the   English  Province  of  the  Society  of  Jesus,. 
vol.  vii.  p.  967. 


1 96  BLESSED   THOMAS    WOODHOUSE 

do  in  this  realm."  Another  said,  "This  is  thy  dream." 
"  No,"  he  answered,  "  it  is  not  my  invention  but  the 
opinion  of  St.  Augustine  and  other  Doctors  of  the 
Church."  And  the  attempt  to  make  him  out  mad 
was  given  up  as  hopeless. 

He  was  repeatedly  examined  both  publicly  and 
privately.  Once  when  he  had  denied  the  Queen's 
title  before  the  Recorder  of  London  and  other  com 
missioners,  some  one  said,  "  If  you  saw  her  Majesty, 
you  would  not  say  so,  for  her  Majesty  is  great." 
"  But  the  majesty  of  God  is  greater,"  he  answered. 

At  length  in  April,  1573,  he  was  arraigned  at  the 
Guildhall.  He  denied  the  authority  of  the  judges, 
saying  "  they  were  not  his  judges,  nor  for  his  judges 
would  he  ever  take  them,  being  heretics  and  pre 
tending  authority  from  her  that  could  not  give  it 
them."  He  also  protested  against  the  competency 
of  secular  judges  to  try  priests  and  spiritual  causes, 
as  the  earlier  Relation  tells  us,  and  was  treated  with 
the  greatest  indignity  and  contumely  and  held  for  a 
fool.  He  was  found  guilty  of  high  treason  and 
sentenced  accordingly,  but  two  months  elapsed 
before  his  execution. 

Before  as  after  his  condemnation  he  ever  kept 
up  the  same  bright,  sweet  demeanour,  the  same 
intrepidity,  the  same  eager  desire  to  suffer  for  his 
Master.  When  first  a  smith  came  to  rivet  irons  on 
him  he  rewarded  him  with  two  shillings.  When 
the  same  man  afterwards  came,  on  some  occasion, 
to  take  them  off,  he  stood  waiting,  cap  in  hand, 
after  his  work,  hoping  for  a  present,  and  at  last  said, 
"  Sir,  this  day  seven-night  when  I  burdened  you 


BLESSED    THOMAS    WOODHOUSE  197 

with  irons,  you  rewarded  me  with  two  shillings : 
now  that  I  have  taken  them  away,  for  your  more 
ease,  I  trust  your  worship  will  reward  me  much 
better."  "No,"  said  the  martyr,  "then  I  gave  thee 
wages  for  laying  irons  on  me,  because  I  was  sure  to 
have  my  wages  for  bearing  them  ;  now,  thou  must 
have  patience  if  thou  lose  thy  wages,  since  thou 
hast  with  taking  away  mine  irons  taken  also  away 
those  wages  I  have  for  carrying  them.  But  come 
when  you  will  to  load  me  with  irons,  and  if  I  have 
money  thou  shalt  not  go  home  with  an  empty  purse." 

When  some  one  told  him  he  was  to  be  removed 
to  the  Tower  to  be  racked,  "  No,"  said  he,  "  I  cannot 
believe  that;  but  notwithstanding  bring  me  true 
news  here  that  it  is  so  and  thou  shalt  have  a  crown 
of  gold  for  thy  pains."  From  this  answer  it  may  be 
gathered  that  he  had  light  from  God  about  what 
was  to  happen  to  him  :  and  so,  again,  the  next  day 
a  servant  brought  him  word  it  was  reported  through 
all  London  he  should  be  put  to  death  the  next  week, 
"No,"  he  answered,  "I  shall  not  die  these  two 
months  and  more."  And  so  it  happened. 

After  his  sentence  he  was  not  taken  back  to  his 
old  prison,  but  was  committed  to  Newgate.  On  his 
way  to  the  prison  he  was  much  ill-treated,  "  being 
tugged  and  lugged  hither  and  thither,  weak  and  sore 
laden  with  irons;  insomuch  as  going  up  the  stairs 
at  Newgate,  he  fell  down  divers  times  on  the  stairs ; 
and  to  one  that  seemed  by  his  words  to  pity  him,  he 
answered  with  a  smiling  countenance  that  these 
troubles  were  sweet  to  him."  Some  one  in  the 
crowd  gave  him  a  blow  on  the  face.  "  Would  God," 


ig8  BLESSED   THOMAS    WOODHOUSE 

he  said  turning  to  him,  "  I  might  suffer  ten  times 
as  much  that  thou  might  go  free  for  the  blow  thou 
hast  given  me.  I  forgive  thee  and  pray  to  God  to 
forgive  thee  even  as  I  would  be  forgiven." 

At  Newgate  he  was  put  into  the  place  conse 
crated  by  the  martyrdom  of  the  Blessed  Carthusian 
Fathers  who  had  been  starved  to  death  five-and- 
thirty  years  before.  The  author  of  the  "  Relation  of 
1574"  says  it  was  the  part  of  the  prison  appropriated 
to  robbers,  and  a  most  dismal  place.  But  after  a 
time  he  was  removed  to  another  chamber,  where  a 
number  of  ministers  were  allowed  access  to  him 
and  disputed  with  him.  Some  of  them  he  confuted, 
surprising  those  present  by  his  learning;  but  when 
the  Dean  of  St.  Paul's  came  he  severely  rebuked 
him,  and  ended  with  the  words,  "  Begone,  Satan." 

His  martyrdom  was  consummated  on  Friday, 
the  i3th  of  June,  1573.  He  was  drawn  in  the  usual 
way  to  the  place  of  execution.  Hearing  him  pray 
in  Latin,  some  of  the  crowd  wanted  him  to  pray  in 
English  so  that  all  might  join  with  him.  He 
answered  that  with  the  Catholics  he  would  willingly, 
but  as  for  the  others  he  would  neither  pray  with 
them  nor  have  them  pray  with  him  or  for  him  ; 
though  he  would  willingly  pray  for  them.  The 
Sheriff  was  impatient  at  what  he  called  his  obsti 
nacy,  and  cried  out,  "  Away  with  him,  executioner, 
strip  him  of  his  garments,  put  the  rope  about  his 
neck  and  do  it  quickly."  Then  he  called  to  the 
martyr  to  ask  pardon  of  God,  the  Queen,  and  the 
country,  but  Blessed  Thomas  answered,  "  Nay, 
I  on  the  part  of  God,  demand  of  you  and  of  the 


BLESSED   THOMAS    WOODHOUSE  199 

Queen,  that  ye  ask  pardon  of  God  and  of  holy 
Mother  Church,  because  contrary  to  the  truth  ye 
have  resisted  Christ  the  Lord,  and  the  Pope,  His 
Vicar  upon  earth."  These  bold  words  drew  shouts 
from  the  ever-fickle  crowd  of  "  Hang  him,  hang 
him,  this  man  is  worse  than  Storey."  He  was  cut 
down  alive,  so  that  "  he  went  between  two  from 
the  gallows  to  the  lire,  near  which  he  was  spoiled, 
and  came  perfectly  to  himself  before  the  hangman 
began  to  bowel  him  ;  inasmuch  as  some  have  said 
he  spoke  when  the  hangman  had  his  hand  in  his 
body  seeking  for  his  heart  to  pull  it  out." 

He  is  described  as  of  middle  stature,  "  with  rosy 
and  fair  face,"  the  "  latter  part  of  his  chin  adorned 
by  a  blackish  beard,"  full  eyes,  a  joyful  expression 
which  he  retained  to  the  last,  and  a  robust  body. 

A  few  words  must  be  added  on  the  admission  of 
the  Blessed  Martyr  into  the  Society  of  Jesus  while 
he  was  still  in  prison.  As  might  be  expected,  the 
writers  who  describe  his  death  brielly,  do  not 
mention  this  at  all,  and  it  is  very  probable  that 
they  did  not  know  anything  about  it.  Even  Father 
Henry  More,  S.J.,  though  he  was  aware  of  the  fact 
from  Father  Thomas  Stephenson's  Life  of  Thomas 
Pound,  seems  to  have  been  unable  to  find  further 
evidence,  and  gave  up  the  inquiry  as  "somewhat 
obscure  and  uncertain."  1  Of  late  years,  however, 
a  good  deal  more  information  has  been  discovered. 

i.  In  the  "  Relation  of  1574,"  to  which  reference 
has  already  been  made,  the  following  passage  occurs. 
"  He  was  inflamed  with  so  great  a  love  for  the 

1  H.  More,  Historia  Provincia  Anglicans,  p.  33. 


BLESSED    THOMAS    WOODHOUSE 


Society  of  Jesus  and  desire  of  entering  it,  that  he 
wrote  to  the  Superior  in  Paris,  earnestly  entreating 
him  to  deign  to  admit  him,  unable  indeed  to  be 
present  in  person,  though  he  was  so  in  heart ;  and 
begging  that  he  might  be  honoured  by  at  least  the 
name  of  the  Society,  and  that  he  might  be  admitted 
to  participate  in  its  merits  and  indulgences,  as  far 
as  the  Constitutions  of  the  Society  permitted  it." 
Towards  the  end  of  the  same  Relation,  this  sentence 
occurs.  "  He  was  so  studious  of  humility,  that 
when  he  had  obtained  from  the  Fathers  of  the 
Society  of  Jesus  the  favour  that  he  had  asked  for, 
he  would  not  tell  it  to  his  friends  but  only  to  his 
confessor."  1 

2.  Brother  Foley  in  his  Records,  has  printed  a 
translation  of  a  letter  from  Father  Henry  Garnet, 
then  Superior  in  England,  to  the  Father  General, 
dated  London,  the  nth  of  March,  1601,  in  which 
the  following  passage  occurs.  "  In  the  year  1572 
or  1573,  a  priest  was  martyred,  who  was  the  proto- 
martyr  of  all  the  priests,  and  the  first  of  all  in  the 
time  of  this  Queen,  except  Felton  and  Storey,  who 
were  laymen.  His  history  has  come  to  my  hands, 
which  I  will  immediately  send  to  Father  Robert 
[Persons].2  He  was  called  Thomas  Woodhouse. 
I  write  this  now  because  I  happened  to  be  in 
London3  at  the  time  of  his  martyrdom,  and  I  have 
heard  it  said  by  Catholics  elsewhere,  that  when  in 

1  Foley,  Records  S.J.  vii.  p.  1267.  His  summary,  however,  is 
far  from  complete. 

'2  This  is  presumably  the  long  Relation  in  Foley,  vii.  967. 

3  He  was  then  a  young  layman.  He  entered  the  Jesuit  Novitiate 
at  the  age  of  twenty,  in  1575. 


BLESSED   THOMAS    WOODHOUSE 


prison  he  was  received  into  the  Society  by  the 
Provincial  of  Paris,  and  it  will  be  well  to  make 
inquiry  into  the  matter,  because  it  will  afford  no 
little  consolation  to  all  our  members.  He  died 
directly  through  the  confession  of  a  private  indi 
vidual,  and  a  little  while  after  the  appearance  of 
the  Bull  of  Pius  V.  He  was  so  animated  by  the 
news  of  his  reception  to  the  Society,  as  the 
Catholics  said  at  the  time,  that  he  sat  down  and 
wrote  to  Cecil  exhorting  him  to  persuade  the  yuecn 
to  submit  herself  to  the  Pope.  Your  Paternity  shall 
see  this  letter."1 

The  letter  just  mentioned  has  been  already 
quoted  from  the  original,  which  is  preserved  among 
the  Burghley  Papers.  Father  Garnet  must  have 
had  access  to  some  draft  or  duplicate  preserved  by 
the  martyr's  friends.  The  next  document  may  be 
connected  with  the  Father  General's  answer  to 
Garnet's  letter. 

3.  In  the  same  volume  which  contains  the 
"  Relation  of  1574,"  ancl  just  before  it,  there  is 
bound  up  a  single  leaf  of  paper  on  which  have  been 
jotted  down  some  notes  in  an  early  seventeenth 
century  hand,  presumably  by  some  librarian  or 
secretary,  from  documents  then  in  the  Archives  of 
the  Society,  but  which  are  no  longer  forthcoming. 
They  begin, 

"  X573-    Gulielmus     (sic)     Wuddus,     in    carcere 
Londinensi  detentus,  potest  admitti  in  Societatem. 
"  Carmina  ab  eodem  scripta  in  carcere." 

1  Foley,  Records  S.J.  vol.  vii.  p.  967. 


BLESSED    THOMAS    WOODHOUSE 


After  this  page  is  bound  the  Latin  life  of  the 
martyr,  which  has  been  called  the  "  Relation  of 
1574,"  written  in  a  hand  of  that  date,  and  then  come 
some  three  hundred  lines  of  Latin  heroics  by  the 
same  writer  dating  from  London.  Of  these  a  few 
have  been  quoted  already.  Perhaps  the  rough  note 
"Verses  by,  &c.,"  should  read  "Verses  about  the 
Martyr." 

One  is  tempted  to  conjecture  that  the  above 
note  was  made  with  a  view  to  answer  some  such 
inquirer  as  Father  Garnet.  It  runs  in  the  form 
one  would  expect  to  find  in  an  official  register,  and 
its  evidence  appears  to  bring  us  very  near  to  the 
original  record  of  our  martyr's  admission  to  the 
Society. 

Such  are  the  facts  on  this  subject  as  at  present 
known.  It  will  be  noted  that  several  of  them  were 
not  published  before  the  drawing  up  of  the  Decree 
of  1886,  and  this  accounts  for  the  Decree  itself 
describing  the  martyr  as  a  Secular  Priest,  and  it  is 
in  any  case  clear  that  the  honour  of  having  formed 
and  trained  this  hero  of  Christ  belongs  to  the 
Secular  Clergy.  Later  on,  when  the  time  came  for 
drawing  up  Offices  and  Masses,  the  Postulators  of 
the  Society  of  Jesus  asked  to  have  Blessed  Thomas's 
name,  with  that  of  Blessed  John  Nelson,  inserted 
among  the  titulars  of  their  special  feast  (December 
the  ist),  with  a  special  eulogium  in  their  Martyrology, 
and  commemorations  in  their  Lessons,  and  this 
petition  was  at  once  granted  by  the  Sacred  Congre 
gation  of  Rites. 

E.  S.  K. 
J.  H.  P. 


BLESSED   THOMAS    WOODHOUSE  203 

P.S.  Since  the  above  was  in  print  I  have  noticed 
the  following  reference  to  our  martyr  in  Dr.  Sander's 
Report  to  Cardinal  Moroni  (Catholic  Record  Society, 
1904),  written  in  May,  1562.  "  Thomas  Woddus, 
Regime  Mariae  capellanus,  in  ipso  actu  privationis 
populum  obtestatus  est  ut  ab  hreresi  et  schisrnate 
caveret."  Whether  this  deprivation  refers  to  his 
chaplaincy,  or  to  the  rectorate  in  Lincoln,  does  not 
appear.  Elizabeth's  visitors  were  ejecting  Catholics 
in  the  autumn  of  1559,  but  Mr.  Gee's  Elizabethan 
Clergy,  pp.  98,  129,  266,  269,  279,  makes  no  mention 
of  Thomas  Woodhouse.  In  any  case  we  have  here 
another  instance  of  the  martyr's  unusual  courage 
and  vigour  in  resisting  the  encroachments  of  heresy. 

J.H.P. 


AUTHORITIES. — The  original  texts  of  all  the  Latin  papers 
quoted  in  the  text  from  the  Stonyhurst  Papers,  and  from  the 
volume  in  the  Archives  of  the  Society  of  Jesus,  which  is  entitled 
Anglia,  Necrologia,  are  still  unpublished,  but  Foley's  Records 
(vol.  vii.  967  and  1267)  contain  copious  extracts  in  English. 
The  translations  from  the  Stonyhurst  Papers  in  the  Catholic 
Spectator,  vol.  ii.  1824,  are  presumably  from  the  pen  of 
Dr.  George  Oliver.  Mr.  Richard  Simpson's  article  in  the 
Rambler  (vol.  x.)  contains  the  State  Papers  from  the  British 
Museum  and  Record  Office  printed  in  full. 


V. 
THE    BLESSED    CUTHBERT    MAYNE, 

PROTO-MARTYR    OF   THE    SEMINARY   PRIESTS. 

Launceston,  29  November,  1577. 

FOUR  years  passed  after  the  martyrdom  of  Blessed 
Thomas  Woodhouse  before  another  martyr  shed 
his  blood.  But  the  pressure  of  the  persecution  went 
on  increasing.  The  statutes  of  1559  and  1563  were 
found  insufficient.  Elizabeth  and  her  Ministers 
had  hoped,  perhaps,  that  a  few  years  of  such 
repression  would  extinguish  the  Faith  in  England, 
as  it  had  been  extinguished  in  Sweden,  Denmark, 
and  Norway.  There  were  no  bishops,  except  in 
prison ;  there  were  no  churches ;  there  were  no 
monasteries ;  there  were  no  Catholic  institutions  of 
charity  or  education.  Catholic  worship,  the  preach 
ing  of  the  word  of  God,  existed  no  longer  save  in 
holes  and  corners ;  and  heavy  fines  and  weary 
imprisonment  must  by  degrees  crush  out  the 
constancy  of  many  and  terrify  the  rest  of  the 
afflicted  Catholics.  And  yet  the  Government  made 
little  way,  and  on  the  contrary  from  about  1561  a 
considerable  reaction  had  set  in,  many  who  had 
fallen  were  reconciled,  many  gave  up  the  too 
common  temporizing  attendance  at  the  heretical 
worship.  Two  causes,  in  this  state  of  things, 


BLESSED    CUTHBERT  MAYNE  205 

incited  the  Government  to  fresh  severities.  The 
one  was  the  Bull  of  Excommunication  and  Deposition 
in  February,  1570.  The  other  was  the  foundation 
of  the  Seminary  at  Douay. 

There  were  still,  scattered  up  and  down  the 
country,  some  good  and  zealous  priests  who  in 
danger  and  difficulty  ministered  as  they  might  to  the 
needs  of  the  faithful.  As  late  as  1596  no  fewer  than 
forty  or  fifty  of  these  ancient  priests  are  said  to  have 
been  labouring  in  England.1  But  in  the  absence  of 
any  means  of  recruitment  their  numbers  must  yearly 
diminish,  and  they  were  doomed  within  a  few 
years  to  inevitable  extinction.  Divine  Providence, 
however,  provided  a  remedy.  Dr.  William  Allen 
had  been  successively  Fellow  of  Oriel  College, 
Oxford,  Principal  of  St.  Mary's  Hall,  Proctor  of  the 
University,  Canon  of  York,  when  in  1561  he  was 
obliged  to  leave  the  country.  He  returned  to  labour 
for  three  years  with  immense  fruit  in  England, 
finally  left  the  country  in  1565,  and  on  Michaelmas 
day,  1568,  laid  the  foundations  of  his  great  work, 
the  Seminary  of  Douay  for  the  training  of  priests 
who  should  perpetuate  the  Faith  in  England.  A 
select  band  of  able  men  soon  gathered  round  him 
to  aid  in  the  work,  Marshall,  Bristow,  Stapleton, 
Dorman,  Gregory  Martin,  and  others.  Students 
then  began  to  join  the  College.  The  first  ordi 
nations  took  place  in  the  year  of  Blessed  Thomas 
Woodhouse's  martyrdom.  The  next  year,  1574,  the 
first  three  missionary  priests  left  the  College  gates 
for  England.  In  the  course  of  another  six  years  it 

1  Knox,  Douay  Diaries,  Historical  Introduction,  p.  Ixii. 


206  BLESSED    CUTHBERT  MAYNE 

sent  a  hundred  such  labourers  into  the  English 
vineyard.  The  tide  was  stemmed ;  it  was  soon 
turned  in  the  other  direction.  A  continuous  stream 
of  youths  for  education,  converts  to  be  instructed 
and  received,  candidates  for  the  priesthood  to  be 
prepared  and  ordained,  set  in  to  Douay ;  the  stream 
was  fed  by  a  ceaseless  .drain  of  members  from  the 
Universities.  By  1578  the  Seminary  had  instructed 
more  than  five  hundred  men  in  the  knowledge  of 
religion.  Ten  or  eleven  would  sometimes  arrive  in 
a  single  day  from  England.  The  studies  were  of  a 
high  order,  piety  and  union  reigned,  the  young 
missionaries  were  filled  with  zeal,  and  even  longed 
for  martyrdom.  Cecil  and  Elizabeth  herself  were 
far  too  clear-sighted  not  to  understand  how  vast  a 
change  the  establishment  of  the  College  wrought  in 
the  situation.  Every  effort  was  made  to  bring  about 
its  destruction,  and  failing  that,  to  harass  and  impede 
its  work. 

A  new  penal  statute,  added  to  the  code  of 
persecution  in  1571,  made  it  high  treason  to  obtain, 
publish,  or  put  in  use  any  Bull,  writing,  or  instrument 
from  the  Pope,  whatever  it  might  contain,  or  in 
virtue  of  any  such  instrument  to  absolve  or  reconcile 
any  person,  or  to  be  absolved  or  reconciled.  The 
same  statute  enacted  the  penalties  of  pramunire, 
imprisonment  and  forfeiture  for  bringing  into  the 
country,  giving  to  any  one  to  use,  or  receiving  for 
use  or  wear,  any  object,  Agnus  Dei,  beads,  crosses 
or  pictures,  which  had  been  blessed  either  by  the 
Pope  or  in  virtue  of  faculties  from  him. 

Still  God's  work  went  on.    The  new  missionaries 


BLESSED   CUTHBERT   MAYNE  207 


were  themselves  amazed  at  their  success.  Henry 
Shaw,  one  of  the  first  three  sent,  wrote  after  a  year's 
work  to  Allen,  "  The  number  of  Catholics  increases 
so  abundantly  on  all  sides  that  he,  who  almost  alone 
holds  the  rudder  of  the  State,  has  privately  admitted 
to  one  of  his  friends,  that  for  one  staunch  Catholic  at 
the  beginning  of  the  reign  there  were  now,  he  knew 
for  certain,  ten."1  In  1577,  Allen  wrote  that  "the 
number  of  those  who  were  daily  restored  to  the 
Catholic  Church  almost  surpassed  belief,"  and  that 
"one  of  the  younger  priests  lately  sent  on  the 
mission  had  reconciled  no  fewer  than  eighty  persons 
in  one  day."  : 

The  blood  of  martyrs  was  not  long  wanting  to 
water  this  new  harvest.  It  was  the  fifteenth  of  the 
missionaries  sent  from  Douay  who  was  chosen  by 
God  to  be  the  first  martyr  of  the  Seminary.  Cuthbert 
Mayne3  was  himself  a  convert.  He  was  born  in 
1544,  at  Youlston,  an  estate  in  the  parish  of 
Shervvell,4  near  Barnstaple,  in  Devonshire,  and 

1  Douay  Diaries,  p.  98.  2  Ibid.  Ixiii. 

3  The  account  of  the  Blessed  Cuthbert  Mayne,  which   follows, 
is  chiefly  taken   from  an  ancient  MS.  in  the  Archives  of  the  see  of 
Westminster  (vol.  ii.  49),  which  is  by  far  the  fullest  in  detail  of  the 
early  relations,  and  appears  to  have  been  very  carefully  drawn  up. 
It  is  a  quarto  MS.  of  fourteen  pages,  very  closely  and  neatly  written 
in  an  Elizabethan  or  Jacobean  hand.    Tierney-Dodd  and  Challoner 
have   used   it    for  their  histories  of  the    martyr.       It  differs  from 
Champney  and   the  Briefe  historic  of  the  glorious   martyrdom  of  xii. 
Reverend  Priests  (1582),  p.  145,  as  to  the  date  of  his  trial,  which  it 
places  at  the  June  Assizes,  whilst  they  defer  it  to  Michaelmas. 

4  He  was  baptized  in  the  old  square  Norman  font  in   Sherwell 
Church,   March  20,  1544.      His  baptismal  register  is  still  extant 
there.     It  runs  :  "  Cuthbert   Mayne  the  sonne  of  William  Maine, 
was  baptised  the  xx  daie  of  March,  afio  p'dto."     The  day  of  his 
baptism  being  St.  Cuthbert's  feast,  will  account  for  his  Christian 
name,  which  is  unusual  in  the  south  of  England. 


208  BLESSED  CUTHBERT  MAYNE 

brought  up  as  a  Protestant  by  an  old  uncle,  a  priest 
who  had  joined  the    heretical  religion   and    had   a 
good  benefice,  which  he  wanted  his  nephew  to  hold 
after   him.      When   Cuthbert  came   to  the    age    of 
eighteen    or    nineteen    his    uncle   got  him   ordained 
a   minister.     He   used   afterwards  to   speak  of  this 
with  great  sorrow,   and   declared  that   at  the   time 
"  he  knew  neither  what  ministry  nor  religion  meant." 
He    had    been    educated    at    Barnstaple    Grammar 
School,    and     now    went    to    Oxford,    where,    after 
studying  for  his   Bachelor's   degree    at   St.  Alban's 
Hall,  he  became  chaplain  at  the  newly-established 
College    of    St.    John,1     and     there     became     the 
friend    and     companion    of    Gregory    Martin     and 
of    Blessed     Edmund     Campion,    the     latter,    like 
himself,   at    that   time    a   Protestant.      His    lovable 
character    quickly   endeared   him    both   to    heretics 
and     Catholics.        Some    of    the    latter    becoming 
intimate  with  him,  the  result  was  that  before  long 
he  confessed  himself  convinced  of  the  truth  of  the 
Catholic    faith.2      But   he    dreaded   the   poverty   he 
would  have  to  face  if  he  threw  up  his  appointment 

1  Maine  or  Mayn  Cuthbert,  sup.  for  B.A.,  March  26,  1566  ;  adm. 
April    6;    det.   1567;    sup.   for   M.A.,    10    February,  1569-70 ;    lie. 
April  8,   1570,  inc.  July   10.    (Fasti,  p.   185;    Boase,   Register  of  the 
University  of  Oxford,  i.  260,  and  Courtenay's  Bibliotheca  Cornubiensis , 
pp.  343i  757,  778,  1278.)     One  Jasper    Mayne,  D.D.   (1604-1672), 
is  mentioned   by  Prince,   Worthies  of  Devon   (pp.  46l~3).  who  says 
that    the  martyr   was  in  all  probability  near   akin  to  him.     The 
family  still  exists  in  Devonshire.  There  is  a  good  Mayne  monument, 
with  coats  of  arms,  in  the  Church  of  St.  Petrock,  Exeter. 

2  He  only   administered    the   Lord's  Supper  on   one   occasion 
while  at  the  College,  but  "every  Sunday  gave  them  a  dry  Com 
munion."  (Brief e  Historie.) 


BLESSED   CUTHBERT   MAYNE  209 

as  chaplain  to  the  College,  and  shrank  from  the 
loss  of  his  friends ;  and  so  he  remained  as  he  was, 
all  the  while  grieving  for  the  error  in  which  he  had 
lived,  groaning  at  the  "profane"  office  he  still 
filled,  and  yearning  to  enter  the  bosom  of  Holy 
Church.  Meantime,  Gregory  Martin  and  Blessed 
Edmund  Campion  had  given  up  friends,  country, 
and  worldly  prospects,  and  were  studying  at  Douay, 
whence  they  wrote  entreaties  to  their  old  com 
panion  to  break  away  courageously  and  follow  them. 
One  of  these  letters  fell  into  the  hands  of  the 
Bishop  of  London,  and  was  at  length  the  means 
of  bursting  asunder  Blessed  Cuthbert's  bonds. 
The  Bishop,  on  making  his  discovery  of  the  state 
of  mind  of  the  chaplain  of  St.  John's  and  others 
named  in  the  letter,  sent  to  have  them  all  arrested. 
The  others  were  seized  and  thrown  into  prison. 
Cuthbert  was  fortunately  absent,  and  was  at  once 
warned  of  his  danger  by  a  friend  at  Oxford,  Thomas 
Ford,  a  fellow  of  Trinity  College,  and  afterwards 
also  a  martyr.  This  cannot  have  been  later  than 
1570, l  for  in  that  year  Blessed  Thomas  Ford  was 
admitted  into  the  Seminary  at  Douay.  Whether 
Blessed  Cuthbert  found  difficulty  in  leaving  the 
country  or  remained  uncertain  as  to  his  future 
course,  does  not  appear  ;  but  after  an  interval  of 
two  or  three  years,  he  made  his  way  at  last  from 
the  Cornish  coast  to  the  Continent,  and  in  1573  his 
arrival  at  Douay  is  registered  in  the  College  Diaries. 
He  was  at  once  admitted  into  the  Seminary,  and 

1  Nor  earlier,  for  on   July  10,  1570,  Cuthbert   Mayne  took  his 
Master's  degree  at  Oxford,  as  we  have  seen. 

O  II. 


BLESSED   CUTHBERT   MAYNE 


there  applied   his  whole  energy  to   the  double  task 
of  the  study  of  theology  and   of  holiness.     In  the 
course  of   1575  he  was    considered   to    have  made 
such  strides  in  both  that  Dr.  Allen  had  him  ordained. 
He  was  especially  admired  for  his  diligence  and  his 
humility.       Short    as    the    time   of   his   preparation 
had  been,  his  friend  and  biographer  says  it  seemed 
long  to  him    from  the    greatness   of    his   desire  to 
labour  for  souls  in  England  and  to  atone  for  his  old 
infame    ministerium    by    the    exercise    of   the    holy 
priesthood.     On  April  the   24th  of  next  year  (1576) 
he  started,  with  the  blessing  of  his  Superior  and  the 
prayers   of  his   companions,  for    England,  together 
with  the  Blessed  John   Payne.      At  the  coast  they 
were    delayed    by    stormy  weather   and    reports    of 
danger  at  the  English  ports  ;   but  at  length  they  got 
safely  into  the  country,  and  then  taking  an    affec 
tionate    farewell,  went  their  several  ways,  to  meet 
again  only  when  they  had  won  the   martyr's  palm. 
A  few  weeks1  after  their  departure  from   Douay  a 
letter  came  from  Henry  Shaw,  one  of  the  first  three 
missioners,  entreating  that  Blessed  Cuthbert  might 
be  sent  to  England  without  delay.     He  must  have 
learned  to  appreciate  the  future  martyr  while  they 
were  together  at  the  Seminary.     Two  items  of  news 
about  them  reached  the  Seminary  a  little  later— on 
June  the  28th.     One  was  that  a  spirit  of  great  exas 
peration   had  been   excited  among  the    heretics    by 
the    numerous   conversions,   and    that    all    kinds  of 
tortures    were    threatened,     in    particular,    against 
Henry  Shaw,  Blessed   Cuthbert,  and    Blessed  John 

1  May  2,  1576.  (Knox,  Douay  Diaries,  p.  104.) 


BLESSED    CUTHBERT  MAYNE  2II 

Payne,  whenever  they  should  be  caught ;  the  other  was 
that  the  carefully  collected  theological  notes  of  the 
last  two,  with  their  store  of  books,  pictures,  rosaries, 
Agnus  Dei,  and  other  pious  objects,  had  all  been 
seized,  but  had  been  cleverly  recovered  again  by 
a  Mr.  Richard  Evingham,  a  pious  young  Catholic 
who  had  been  at  Douay,  and  whose  father  had  paid 
the  forfeit  of  his  son's  devotion,  being  thrown  into 
prison,  while  the  son  himself  was  eagerly  sought 
for  by  the  persecutors.1  After  many  adventures  and 
escapes,  young  Evingham  succeeded  in  reaching 
Douay  on  the  5th  of  October,  1576. 

After  a  short  visit  to  his  native  Devonshire, 
Blessed  Cuthbert  went  to  live  in  the  house  of 
Mr.  Francis  Tregian,  at  Golden,  about  five  miles 
from  Truro,  in  Cornwall.2  Mr.  Tregian  was  a  man 
of  large  fortune,  exceedingly  hospitable  and  a 
fervent  Catholic.  The  missionaries  usually  sought 
shelter  for  a  longer  or  shorter  period,  first  in  one, 
then  in  another  such  influential  family,  amongst 
whose  large  household  they  could  live  unnoticed, 
whilst  they  were  enabled  to  say  Mass,  preach,  and 
administer  the  Sacraments  to  the  neighbouring 
Catholics,  and  also  find  many  opportunities  of 
meeting  Protestants  whose  conversion  was  thought 
hopeful.  No  details  of  Blessed  Cuthbert's  ministry 

1  Douay  Diaries,  p.  106. 

2  The  name  Tregian  should  be  pronounced  Trudgcon.     In  this 
form  it  is  still  not  uncommon  in  Cornwall.     The  estate  in  St.  Ewe, 
from  which  the  family  took  its  name,  is  so  called  from  the  British 
words    Tre   and    Udqian   (oxen    town).      The   priest's   hiding-place 
(where   Blessed  Cuthbert    may  sometimes    have   been   concealed) 
still  exists  at  Golden  ;   which  is  in  the  parish  of  St.  Probus. 


BLESSED   CUTHBERT   MAYNE 


are  recorded,  except  that  he  passed  as  Mr.  Tregian's 
steward,  and  that  it  was  noted  afterwards  that  not 
one  of  those  whom  he  gained  to  God  ever  fell  away. 
Conceal  himself  as  carefully  as  he  might,  however, 
vague  rumours  gradually  spread  about,  and  before  a 
year  had  passed,  the  storm,  which  was  unusually 
violent  at  the  time  in  many  parts  of  the  country, 
broke  over  Mr.  Tregian's  house. 

The  Bishop  of  Exeter  was  making  a  visitation 
at  Truro — the  Protestant  Bishops  were  usually  the 
hottest  persecutors — and  it  was  determined  between 
him  and  the  High  Sheriff,  Richard  Grenville l  of 
Stowe,  to  search  the  house  at  Golden.  The  High 
Sheriff  presented  himself  on  the  8th  of  June,  1577, 
with  the  Bishop's  Chancellor,  and  nine  or  ten 
Justices  of  the  Peace,  accompanied  by  their  servants, 
a  party  of  about  a  hundred  men.  Mr.  Tregian  met 
them  at  the  threshold.  "We  are  come,"  said  the 
High  Sheriff,  "to  search  your  house  for  a  certain 
Bourne  who  has  committed  an  offence  in  London 
and  fled  to  this  neighbourhood,  and  indeed  is  said  to 
have  taken  refuge  here."  Tregian  declared  no  such 
person  was  in  his  house,  nor  had  he  any  idea  where 
he  might  be,  and  protested  against  the  indignity  of 
searching  a  gentleman's  house  without  any  warrant 

1  In  the  Brief e  Historic  it  is  given  as  Greenfield,  but  see  J.  Morris, 
Troubles,  i.  p.  65.  He  was  at  this  time  simply  Mr.  Sheriff  Grenville, 
being  knighted  later  as  a  reward  for  his  share  in  Blessed  Cuthbert's 
martyrdom.  This  is  the  hero  so  glorified  in  Kingsley's  Westward  Ho ! 
though  even  Kingsley  is  forced  to  admit  that  Sir  Richard ' '  was  subject 
at  moments  to  such  fearful  fits  of  rage  that  he  had  been  seen  to 
snatch  the  glasses  from  the  table,  grind  them  to  pieces  with  his 
teeth,  and  swallow  them." 


BLESSED   CUTHBERT  MAYNE  213 

from  the  Queen.  But  resistance  to  such  a  force 
was  impossible,  and  the  Sheriff  with  drawn  dagger 
and  threats  of  violence  forced  his  way  into  the 
house  with  his  followers. 

The  blessed  martyr  was  completely  unaware  of 
what  was  going  on,  and  coming  into  his  room  by 
the  garden  entrance  and  hearing  the  battering  at 
his  other  door,  which  was  locked,  opened  it,  and 
found  himself  face  to  face  with  the  High  Sheriff. 
"  What  art  thou  ?  "  said  the  latter.  "  I  am  a  man," 
answered  the  martyr — but  as  the  High  Sheriff  put 
his  question  he  grasped  the  Blessed  Cuthbert  by  the 
bosom  and  in  doing  so  his  hand  struck  against 
metal,  so,  asking  if  he  wore  a  coat  of  mail,  he  tore 
open  his  clothes  and  made  the  discovery  of  an 
Agnus  Dei,  which  the  holy  priest  wore  suspended 
from  his  neck  in  a  case  of  silver  and  crystal.  This 
was  enough  to  make  him  a  criminal  by  the  Act  of 
1571,  and  calling  him  every  opprobrious  name,  they 
at  once  carried  him  off,  with  his  books  and  papers, 
to  the  Bishop  at  Truro.  Tregian,  who  was  also 
arrested,  was  liberated  for  a  time  on  bail,  but 
the  martyr,  after  a  long  examination  of  himself  and 
his  papers,  was  committed  to  the  custody  of  the 
Sheriff,  who  carried  him  from  one  gentleman's  house 
to  another,  with  every  kind  of  ignominious  treatment, 
until  they  came  to  Launceston.  Here  he  was  very 
cruelly  used,  confined  to  a  filthy  and  dark  under 
ground  prison,  loaded  with  heavy  irons,  chained  to 
his  bedposts,  allowed  no  books  or  writing  materials, 
—indeed  there  was  no  light  to  use  them — and  not 
permitted  to  see  any  one  except  in  presence  of  a 


BLESSED    CUTHBERT   MAYNE 


gaoler.  The  capture  was  regarded  as  so  important 
a  service  to  the  Crown  that  the  Sheriff  was  knighted 
for  it.1 

Eight  days  later,  on  June  the  i6th,2  the  Assizes 
commenced  at  Launceston,  the  Earl  of  Bedford 
among  others  being  present,  and  Blessed  Cuthbert 
was  brought  to  trial,  together  with  several  gentle 
men  and  servants,3  who  were  accused  of  aiding  and 
abetting  his  offence. 

In  order  to  throw  the  more  contempt  on  them, 
they  were  stripped  of  their  upper  garments,  and 
made  to  appear  at  the  bar  in  their  doublets  and 
hose. 

An  elaborate  indictment  had  been  prepared 
against  the  martyr,  containing  the  following  heads 
of  accusation. 

"  i.  That  he  had  on  a  stated  day  traitorously 
obtained  from  the  Roman  See  a  printed  faculty 
containing  matter  of  absolution  of  sundry  subjects 
of  the  kingdom. 

"  2.  That  on  a  day  named  he  had  traitorously 
published  the  said  document  at  Golden. 

"  3.  That  on  another  day  he  had  at  Launceston 
maliciously  and  with  evil  intent  taught  and  defended 

1  The  examination  of  Blessed  Cuthbert,  "  first  taken  not  long 
before  his  execution  at  Launceston,"  will  be  found  in  the  Record 
Office,  Domestic,  Elizabeth,  cxviii.  46. 

2  Tregian's  Life  says  September  the  i6th. 

3  Mr.  Richard  Tremayne,  Mr.  John  Kempe,  Mr.  Richard  Hpre, 
Mr.  Thomas  Harris,  Mr.  John  Williams,  M.A.,  and  three  servants. 
Mr.  Tregian  himself  was  brought  to  London  to  be  dealt  with   by 
the  Council. 


BLESSED   CUTHBERT  MAYNE  215 

in  express  words,  the  ecclesiastical  power  of  a  foreign 
Bishop,  to  wit,  the  Bishop  of  Rome,  heretofore 
usurped  in  this  kingdom. 

"  4.  That  on  a  certain  day  he  had  brought  into 
this  kingdom  a  vain  and  superstitious  thing,  com 
monly  called  an  Agnus  Dei,  blessed,  as  they  say,  by 
the  said  Bishop  of  Rome,  and  had  delivered  the 
same  to  Mr.  Francis  Tregian. 

"  5.  That  on  a  day  named  he  had  publicly  said 
Mass  and  administered  the  Lord's  Supper  according 
to  the  Popish  rite,  and  all  these  things  contrary  to 
statutes  made  in  the  ist  and  I3th  years  of  our 
sovereign  lady  Queen  Elizabeth  and  against  her 
peace,  crown,  and  dignity."1 

Very  full  details  of  the  trial  are  recorded  in  the 
manuscript  from  which  these  particulars  are  taken. 
It  is  difficult  at  the  present  day  to  realize  that  such 
a  perversion  of  the  forms  and  authority  of  law  can 
ever  have  been  possible  in  England.  The  most 
elementary  principles  of  evidence,  of  argument,  of 
justice  were  violated.  The  martyr  urged  that  the 
"  Bull  "  did  not  come  from  Rome,  that  it  was  a 
printed  copy — printed  at  Douay,  where  he  had 
bought  it — of  the  announcement  of  the  Jubilee  of 
1575,  having  no  force  or  application  of  any  kind 
after  that  year,  and  that  of  course  he  had  never 
published  it  at  Golden  or  anywhere  else,2  that  no 

1  J.  Morris,  Troubles,  i.  pp.  71 — 77. 

2  Mr.    Froude   (History   of  England,   vol.    xi.    p.    54)   says   that 
Mayne  "  was  discovered  in  Cornwall  in  November,  1578,  having 
about  him  copies  of  the  Bull  of  Pope  Pius,"  meaning,  of  course,  the 
Bull  of  Excommunication.     "  This  and  similar  executions  are  now 


2l6  BLESSED    CUTHBERT   MAYNE 

evidence  had  been  offered  of  the  alleged  publication, 
or  that  the  Agnus  Dei  had  been  brought  from  Rome, 
or  that  he  had  brought  it  into  England  or  delivered 
it  to  Mr.  Tregian.     The  finding  of  a  missal,  chalice 
and    vestments    in    his    room,    to    which    the    High 
Sheriff  testified,  was  also  far  from  proving  that  he 
had   said   Mass.     And  in  answer  to  three  illiterate 
witnesses   who   said   that   in    a   secret   conversation 
with  them   in  prison   he  had   denied  the  Queen  to 
be  supreme  head  of  the  Church,  he  declared  he  had 
not  made  to  them  any  positive  assertion  or  denial. 
One    of    the   judges,    Judge    Manwood,    instructed 
the   jury    that    where    plain    proofs    were    wanting, 
strong  presumptions  ought  to   be  considered  suffi 
cient,   and    directed   them   to   convict   the    prisoner 
accordingly.      The    jury,    after    deliberating    some 
time,  were  still  undecided,  in  spite  of  the  strongly 
prejudiced    charge,   when   the   High   Sheriff   in   the 
sight    of    the   court    went   amongst   them  and   held 
a    long    consultation   with   them,   an   act   as    illegal 
and    scandalous  then    as    it    would    be   now;    after 
which  being   called   on    for  their  verdict  they  pro 
nounced  the  blessed  martyr  guilty  of  high  treason 
and    the    others    of    felony.      The    next    day    they 
were   all  brought  up  for  judgment.     The    sentence 
of  death  was  pronounced  on  Blessed  Cuthbert  and 

held  to  have  been  needless  cruelties."  Here  Mr.  Froude  seems  to 
have  thought  he  had  made  too  great  an  admission  and  he  is  not 
ashamed  to  add,  "  But  were  a  Brahmin  to  be  found  in  the  quarters 
of  a  Sepoy  Regiment,  scattering  incendiary  addresses  from  Nana 
Sahib,  he  would  be  hanged  also  "  !  "  He  was  tried  for  treason  and 
hanged  at  Launceston,  without  any  charge  against  him  except  his 
religion,"  says  Hallam.  (Constitutional  History,  vol.  i.  p.  I45-) 


BLESSED    CUTHBERT   MAYNE 


217 


that  of  perpetual  imprisonment  and  forfeiture  on 
the  rest.  On  hearing  the  sentence  the  martyr  raised 
his  eyes  and  hands  to  heaven,  and  with  a  calm 
voice  and  joyful  face  cried  aloud,  Deo  gratias.  He 
was  taken  back  to  his  wretched  prison,  handcuffed, 
and  loaded  with  fetters.  Here  he  remained  over  five 
months  amongst  criminals  of  the  lowest  class. 

The  delay  was  due  to  the  fact  that  the  two 
Judges  of  Assize  had  differed.  Judge  Jeffries  had 
allowed  himself  to  be  overborne  at  the  moment 
by  Manwood,  but  subsequently  forwarded  to  the 
Council  a  report  of  the  trial  and  his  reasons  for 
not  concurring  in  the  sentence.  By  order  of  the 
Council  the  case  was  discussed  by  all  the  judges 
together,  but  they  were  as  little  agreed  as  the  first 
two,  though  the  older  judges  and  those  of  greater 
authority  took  the  side  of  Jeffries.  The  Government, 
however,  well  aware  of  the  stream  of  missionaries 
pouring  into  the  country,  and  stung  by  the  abundant 
fruits  of  their  apostolate,  were  unwilling  to  forego 
the  opportunity  of  making  an  example,  and  an  order 
was  sent  to  the  High  Sheriff,  signed  by  eight  or  nine 
of  the  Privy  Council,  to  proceed  with  the  execution. 

When  a  servant  told  the  holy  priest  to  be  pre 
pared,  for  he  was  to  die  in  three  days,  he  heartily 
thanked  him  and  said  he  would  most  gladly  have 
rewarded  him,  had  he  anything  to  give,  since  he 
had  been  the  first  to  bring  him  such  joyful  news ; 
and  from  that  moment  he  gave  himself  up  to  more 
intimate  prayer  and  preparation  for  his  passion. 
During  the  second  night  of  this  preparation,  the 
chamber  was  filled  with  a  bright  supernatural  light, 


2i8  BLESSED    CUTHBERT   MAYNE 

and  the  other  prisoners  in  amazement  called  to  him 
to  know  what  it  was.  He  answered  that  it  was 
nothing  in  which  they  were  concerned,  and  begged 
them  to  be  silent. 

The  day  before  his  martyrdom  he  was  brought 
out  of  his  prison  to  a  conference  with  a  number  of 
justices  and  other  gentlemen  who  had  come  with 
two  ministers  to  see  him.  From  eight  o'clock  in 
the  morning  till  nightfall,  ironed  as  he  was,  and 
weakened  with  ill-treatment,  he  kept  the  field, 
meeting  all  they  had  to  say  with  complete  success, 
as  some  who  were  present  had  the  honesty  to 
confess,  though  the  ministers  and  their  patrons 
spread  the  report  that  he  had  been  unable  to  answer 
them.  But  what  was  much  more  than  success  in 
argument  was  the  victory  of  his  faith  and  constancy; 
for  the  justices  present  assured  him  they  could 
answer  for  his  life  and  liberty  if  he  would  affirm  on 
oath  that  the  Queen  was  the  supreme  head  of  the 
Church  of  England.  The  martyr  asked  for  a  Bible, 
and  perhaps  for  an  instant  they  thought  that  terror 
of  death  and  desire  for  life  had  prevailed,  but  in 
another  moment  he  had  taken  the  Holy  Scriptures 
into  his  hand,  made  the  sign  of  the  Cross,  and 
kissed  the  sacred  volume,  and  the  words  came 
clear  and  firm,  "The  Queen  never  was,  nor  is,  nor 
ever  shall  be,  the  head  of  the  Church  of  England." 

The  next  day  was  the  eve  of  St.  Andrew,  an 
auspicious  day  for  a  martyr's  death.  The  place 
was  not  less  so,  for  its  ancient  name  was  Fanum 
Sancti  Stephani—"  the  Church  of  St.  Stephen."  With 
such  happy  auguries  Blessed  Cuthbert  set  out  for 


BLESSED   CUTHBERT   MAYNE  2ig 

the  market-place,  where  the  execution  was  to  take 
place.  When  he  was  laid  on  the  sledge  some  of 
the  justices  wanted  him  to  be  placed  so  that  his 
head  should  hang  over  the  framework,  and  thus  be 
more  cruelly  bruised  by  the  stones ;  he  made  no 
objection  himself,  but  the  deputy  of  the  High  Sheriff 
was  humane  enough  to  forbid  it.1  At  the  place  of 
execution,  after  kneeling  in  prayer  for  some  time, 
he  went  up  the  ladder,  and  began  to  explain  to  the 
people  the  cause  of  his  death  and  to  make  an 
exhortation  to  them,  but  he  was  soon  stopped,  and 
one  of  the  justices  told  the  hangman  to  attach  the 
rope,  adding  as  the  ladder  was  going  to  be  turned, 
*  Now  let  him  preach  if  he  will."  At  the  same 
moment  another  called  out,  "  Now,  villain  and 
traitor,  you  are  at  the  moment  of  death  ;  tell  us  then 
truly  whether  Mr.  Tregian  and  Sir  John  Arundell- 
knew  of  the  things  you  are  going  to  die  for." 
"  I  know  nothing  about  them,"  answered  the 
martyr,  "  except  that  they  are  good  and  pious  men  ; 
and  as  to  the  things  laid  to  my  charge,  no  one  but 
myself  has  any  knowledge."  Then  he  was  thrown 
off  so  suddenly  that  he  had  not  time  to  finish  the 
verse  In  manus  tuas,  which,  striking  his  breast,  he 
had  begun.  He  was  almost  instantly  cut  down,3  but 

1  The  contemporary  author  of  the  Imprisonment  of  Francis  Tregian, 
says  "  he  was  uneasily  laid  on  a  hurdle,  and  so  spitefully  drawn, 
receiving  some  knocks  on  his  face  and  his  fingers  with  a  girdle, 
unto  the  market-place,"  &c.  (See  J.  Morris,  Troubles,  i.  p.  98.) 

2  Mr.  Tregian's  brother-in-law. 

3  The  Briefe  Historic,  however,  says:  "Some  of  the  gentlemen 
would  have  had  him  cut  down  straightway  that  they  might  have 
had  him  quartered  alive,  but  the  Sheriff's  deputy  would  not,  but 
let  him  hang  until  he  was  dead." 


BLESSED    CUTHBERT   MAYNE 


the  malice  of  the  persecutors  was  baulked  of  part  of 
its  satisfaction,  for  as  he  fell  from  the  gibbet,  which 
was  unusually  high,  his  head  struck  with  great  force 
against  an  angle  of  the  scaffold.  One  of  his  eyes 
was  put  out  by  the  blow,  and  so  he  was  nearly 
insensible  while  the  usual  butchery  was  gone 
through. 

When  the  quarters  of  the  holy  martyr  were 
distributed,  his  head  was  stuck  upon  a  pole  at 
Wadebridge.1  In  some  way  it  came  into  the 
reverent  hands  of  Catholics  and  is  now  preserved 
as  a  most  precious  relic  of  the  first  martyr  of  the 
seminaries,  at  the  Carmelite  Convent,  Lanherne. 

The  words  of  a  saint  about  a  saint  are  ever  of 
special  interest.  Blessed  Edmund  Campion  heard 
of  his  old  friend's  happy  end  for  the  first  time  more 
than  a  year  afterwards,  when  he  learned  the  par 
ticulars  from  Gregory  Martin.  In  his  answer,  dated 
August,  1579,  from  Prague,  he  says,  "We  all  thank 
you  much  for  your  account  of  Cuthbert's  martyrdom. 
It  gave  many  of  us  a  real  religious  joy.  Wretch 
that  I  am,  how  has  that  novice  distanced  me  !  May 
he  be  favourable  to  his  old  friend  and  tutor!  I 
shall  now  boast  of  these  titles  more  than  ever." 

Mr.  Francis  Tregian,  after  various  imprisonments 
and  sufferings,  in  which  his  mother,  his  wife  and 
children  were  involved,  was  condemned  to  the 
penalties  of  prczmunire.  His  property,  forfeited  to 
the  Crown,  was  given  by  Elizabeth  to  Sir  George 

1  The  quarters  were  distributed  as  follows:  One  to  Bodmin, 
another  to  Barnstaple  (near  the  martyr's  birthplace),  a  third  to 
Tregony  (about  a  mile  from  Mr.  Tregian's  house),  and  the  fourth  to 
Launceston.  In  the  Brief e  Historic  St.  Probus  is  given  for  Tregony. 


BLESSED    CUTHBERT   MAYNE 


Carey,  created  by  her  Lord  Hunsdon  in  1559. 
He  himself  remained  a  prisoner  for  thirty  years, 
chiefly  in  the  Fleet  Prison,  but  was  at  length  set  at 
liberty  and  died  at  an  advanced  age  on  the  25th  of 
September,  1608.  His  body  was  found  absolutely 
incorrupt  seventeen  years  after  his  death,  and  his 
son-in-law,  Francis  Plunket,  in  his  Life  of  him, 
relates  several  miracles  wrought  by  his  relics.1 

E.  S.  K. 


AUTHORITIES. — These  are  already  sufficiently  referred  to 
in  the  notes.  We  may  add,  however,  the  following. 
Estcourt,  Question  of  Anglican  Ordinations,  p.  138,  App.  p.  Ixii.; 
Simpson's  Campion  (1867),  pp.  49,  73,  93  ;  Frere,  A  History  of 
the  English  Church  in  the  reigns  of  Elizabeth  and  James  7. 
pp.  210 — 213  ;  Morris,  Troubles  of  our  Catholic  Forefathers^ 
Series  I.  pp.  65 — 140,  for  the  life  and  sufferings  of  Mr.  Tregian; 
and  W.  Meyer  Griffith,  Blessed  Cuthbert  Mayne,  Proto-Martyr 
of  the  Seminaries  (London,  1903),  a  tiny  booklet  which  has  the 
merit  of  being  the  first  to  clear  up  the  question  as  to  the 
martyr's  birthplace.  It  contains  a  sketch  of  the  font  at 
Sherwell  Church,  and  a  facsimile  of  the  martyr's  baptismal 
register.  Prince,  Danmonii  Orientates  Illustres,  or,  The  Worthies 
of  Devon  (1701),  gives  (p.  461)  the  Mayne  family  arms,  gules, 
a  fess  argent  between  four  hands  or. 

PORTRAIT. — A  rude  sketch  of  the  martyr's  features  exists. 
It  was  possibly  the  work  of  his  gaoler,  or  of  some  visitor  to 

1  J.  Morris,  Troubles,  i.  p.  62.  If  Mr.  Tregian  would  have  gone 
to  the  Protestant  service  he  might  not  only  have  secured  full 
immunity  for  himself  and  his  servants,  but  also  the  life  of  Blessed 
Cuthbert.  "But  no  persuasions  or  offers  whatsoever  could  once 
induce  him  to  agree  thereto,  always  preferring  Christianity  before 
his  own  immunity  or  his  servants'  liberty.  And  concerning  the  life 
of  Cuthbert  Mayne,  always  alleging  that  he  would  not  hazard 
his  own  soul  unto  Hell  to  withhold  his  man's  from  Heaven."  (Ibid. 
P-  97  ) 


BLESSED   CUT H BERT  MAYNE 


his  prison.     A  copy  will  be  found  in  Portraits  of  the  English 
Martyrs  (Art  and  Book  Co.,  1895). 

RELICS. — The  skull  of  Blessed  Cuthbert  is,  as  we  said, 
reverently  preserved  at  the  Carmelite  Convent,  Lanherne, 
Cornwall.  The  hole  through  the  top  shows  the  shape  of  the 
spike  on  which  it  was  exposed.  There  are  projections  on 
the  sides  of  the  hole,  showing  that  there  must  have  been  a 
raised  edge  on  the  spike.  The  following  memorandum  is 
preserved  in  the  Convent.  "  Richard  Raine,  Esq.,  made  a 
present  to  our  Community,  in  the  year  1807,  of  the  skull  of 
Mr.  Cuthbert  Mayne,  who  was  put  to  death  for  his  faith,  in 
Cornwall,  in  the  year  1577."  Many  fragments  have  been 
detached  from  this  relic  (which  is  the  upper  part  only  of  the 
skull),  and  the  nuns  have  been  only  too  generous  in  distri 
buting  particles.  It  is  now,  however,  sealed  up  in  a  beautiful 
reliquary,  presented  by  the  late  Mr.  Charles  Weld  of 
Chideock. 

A  portion  of  the  relic  is  at  the  Catholic  Church,  Laun- 
ceston,  others  are  at  Bruges,  Erdington,  Durham,  Harrow 
(Visitation  Convent),  Parkminster,  Roehampton,  Ushaw,  and 
elsewhere. 

In  the  splendid  old  mansion  of  Sutton  Place,  Guildford, 
the  seat  of  the  Westons,  and  afterwards  of  the  Salvins,  there 
was  found,  some  years  ago,  in  a  cupboard  in  an  old  lumber- 
room,  together  with  other  relics,  enclosed  in  a  magnificent 
Gothic  reliquary  of  the  fourteenth  century,  a  large  part  of 
the  skull  of  Blessed  Cuthbert  Mayne,  being  the  part  under 
the  right  ear.  (This  seems  never  to  have  been  at  Lanherne.) 
It  is  not  known  how  these  relics  came  into  the  possession  of 
the  family. 


VI. 
THE   BLESSED  JOHN    NELSON, 

JESUIT. 
Tyburn,  3  February,   1577-8. 

Two  clays  after  the  martyrdom  of  Blessed  Cuthbeit 
Mayne,  another  capture  was  made,  this  time  in 
London  ;  that  of  the  Blessed  John  Nelson. 

John  Nelson  was  born  of  an  honourable  York 
shire  family,  at  "Skelton,  within  two  miles  of  York, 
being  the  ancient  house  of  the  Nelsons,  being 
knights  of  good  worth."  l  His  life  had  been  exactly 
coextensive  with  the  duration  of  the  schism,  for  he 
was  born  in  the  fatal  year  1534.  He  was  from  his 
earliest  years  a  man  of  great  faith  and  a  loving  zeal 
for  God's  cause,  and  Dr.  Bridgwater  says  he  had 
a  vehement  detestation  for  the  error  of  many 
Catholics  who  in  the  early  years  of  Elizabeth's 
reign  thought  it  lawful  to  go  to  the  Protestant 
worship.  He  used  to  declare  it  a  great  grace  of 
God  to  him,  that  he  had  been  able  to  withdraw 
a  good  many  from  this  error,  and  had  the  consola 
tion  of  seeing  them  imitate  the  courage  and  con 
stancy  of  the  Catholic  Bishops  and  other  holy 

1  An  old  MS.  in  the  Archives  of  the  see  of  Westminster,  vol.  ii. 
p.  65. 


224  BLESSED    JOHN    NELSON 

confessors    who  were    suffering  the    loss    of    goods 
and   liberty  in   Elizabeth's  prisons    for   this   cause. 
His  intimate  friends  related  after  his  death  how  he 
had  long  been  accustomed  to  say  that  the  Catholic 
religion  would   never  be  restored  in  England  until 
many  should   shed   their  blood  for   confession   and 
testimony  of  the  same  ;  and  whatever  hopes  people 
might  found   on  other  means,  he   never  wavered   in 
this  opinion.1     Moreover,  both  when  at  Douay  and 
for  years  before,  he  was  firmly  persuaded  that    he 
himself  would   shed   his   blood   for   the  Faith.     To 
such  a  man  Douay  offered  an  irresistible  attraction  ; 
and  in   1573,   at  the   mature   age   of   forty,   he    left 
England  and   betook  himself  to  the  Seminary.     Of 
his  four  brothers  two  followed  his  example.     Martin, 
the  next  in  age  to  himself,  arrived  in  1574,  and  was 
ordained  and  sent  on  the   mission  the  same  year ; 
Thomas   followed    in   1575,   and  was  ordained   and 
sent  to  England   in   I577-2 

It  is  difficult  in  middle  age  to  fall  into  a  life  of 
regular  discipline ;  but  John  was  remarked  as  being 
always  most  prompt  in  his  obedience  to  every  order 
of  his  Superiors.  His  great  longing  for  the  holy 
priesthood  is  also  spoken  of.  His  desire  was 
accomplished  on  the  nth  of  June,  1576,  when  he 
was  ordained  at  Bynche,  by  the  Archbishop  of 

1  F.  Warford's  Relation  of  Martyrs.   (Stonyhurst  MS.  Collectanea 
M.   fol.    131 — 143.     Printed    in    Pollen's  Acts  of  English    Martyrs, 
p.  250.) 

2  Both  brothers  lived  till  the  year  1625,  Martin  dying  at  Sutton, 
in    Herefordshire,   on  December  4,   and    Thomas  at  Antwerp,    in 
June.     Christopher  was  the  owner  of  Skelton.     The  fifth  brother 
apostatized  from  the  Faith  and  became  a  minister. 


BLESSED  JOHN  NELSON  225 

Cambrai.  He  left  Douay  for  England  on  November 
the  yth  of  the  same  year,  with  four  companions 
who  had  been  ordained  with  him,  and  a  young 
relation  of  his  own  name,  whom  he  was  afraid  to 
leave  in  the  troubled  state  of  the  country,  from 
which  many  of  the  English  were  flying. 

His  ministry  lasted  but  one  year.     The    Douay 
Diary1  says  he   ''had   laboured   much,"  but  no  par 
ticulars  have  been  preserved   of  his  work  unless  an 
act    related    in    the    Diaries    be    rightly    attributed 
to  him.     A  certain  woman   in   London  led  the   life 
of  an  anchoress,  enclosed  in  some  open  space,  where 
she  passed    several    years  without  ever    leaving  it, 
to  the  general  wonder.     But,   as  is  thought,   from 
an  ignorance  which  heresy  had  made  very  common, 
she  never  had    a    thought   of  reconciliation  to   the 
Church    or   of  the    holy   sacraments.       This    poor 
woman   was    at    the    point    of  death  and   was   sur 
rounded  by  a  great  number  of  the  neighbours,  when 
"one  of  ours,"  says  the  diarist,  "  rather  than  allow 
a  soul   so  religious  in    life  to  pass  away  without  the 
sacraments,  disguised  himself  so  that  he  might  not 
be    at    once  seized    as    a    priest,   and    then    boldly 
entering  the  place,  bade  the  bystanders  to  withdraw 
a  little,  and,  as  if  he   were   engaged   in  some  other 
business  with   her,   reconciled   her  to   the   Church, 
and  that  done  she  expired."     In  the  margin  of  this 
entry  a   contemporary  hand  had  written   "  Nels.," 
and   it   is  highly  probable   that   the    priest  was  no 
other  than  the  blessed  martyr.2 

1  Knox,  Douay  Diaries  (Diarium  Secundum),  February  15,  1578,  p.  133. 
2  Ibid.  June  i,  1577,  P-  122. 

p  II. 


226  BLESSED   JOHN   NELSON 


It  was  just  a  year  after  his  arrival  in  England 
that  he  was  called  upon  to  exorcise  a  possessed 
person.  The  evil  spirit  was  forced  to  leave  his 
victim,  but  before  doing  so  threatened  the  holy 
priest  that  he  would  have  him  taken  up  in  a  week, 
and  that  it  should  cost  him  his  life.1  And,  in  fact, 
on  Sunday,  December  the  ist,  late  in  the  evening, 
as  he  was  saying  the  Matins  of  the  next  day's 
Office,  he  was  seized  and  at  once  committed  to 
Newgate  Prison  on  suspicion  of  "  Papistry." 

A  few  days  elapsed  and  then  he  was  summoned 
for    examination    before  the    Queen's    High   Com 
missioners.     There  was  no  accusation  against  him, 
but  the    Commissioners    began    by  tendering    the 
Oath  of  Supremacy,  which  of  course  he  refused  to 
take.     The  simple  refusal  did  not  of  itself  bring  him 
within  any  of  the   penal  statutes,   inasmuch  as  he 
was   not  known  or  proved  to  be  included  in   any  of 
the  classes  of  persons  who  could  be  obliged  to  take 
it  ;    on  the  other  hand,  to  maintain  expressly   the 
authority  of  the  Pope  was  highly  penal  for  any  one, 
and   the  second    offence    incurred   the    punishment 
of  high  treason.     According  to  the  just  and  humane 
practice  of  our  day,  the  worst  criminal  is  carefully 
warned  against  incriminating  himself;    but   it  was 
far    otherwise  in    Elizabeth's  time,  and  the  Com 
missioners  at  once  went  on  to  draw  from  the  martyr 
matter  for  his  condemnation.    "  Why  would  he  not 
take  the  oath?"  he  was  asked.    -Because  I  never 
heard  or  read,"  he  answered,  "that  any  lay  prince 
could    have    that     pre-eminence."       'Who,    then, 
i  Yepes,  Historia particular  (1599).  lib-  »•  c-  X3'  P-  97- 


BLESSED   JOHN   NELSON  227 


according   to   your    opinion,    is    the    head    of    the 
Church  ? "       He    answered    boldly,    "  The    Roman 
Pontiff,     as    being    Christ's    vicar    and    the    lawful 
successor  of  St.  Peter."     They  next  asked  him  what 
he  thought  of  the  religion  now  practised  in  England, 
to    which    he    replied  that  it  was  schismatical  and 
heretical.     Required  to  define  schism,  he  said  it  was 
a  voluntary  departure  from  the  unity  of  the  Catholic 
Roman  faith.     Upon   this  they  asked   whether  the 
Queen,   then,   was   a    schismatic.      To   answer  this 
question  in  the  affirmative  was,  by  the  Act  of  1571, 
at  once  high  treason,  so  the   martyr  tried  to  evade 
it.     He  answered  that   he  could   not   tell,   because 
he  did  not  know  her  mind  and  intention  as  to  the 
promulgation   and  support  of   Protestantism.     But 
the  Commissioners  would  not  let  him  escape.   They 
answered   that   the  Queen   unquestionably  did   pro 
mulgate  and  support  it,  and  pressed  him  to  declare 
whether  that  being  the  case,  she  was  a  schismatic 
or   a   heretic.     The  martyr  paused.     He  knew  life 
was  at  stake.     Was  it  possible  to  escape  offending 
against  the  cruel  law  of  his  earthly  sovereign  without 
offending  against  God    and    his   own     conscience  ? 
Then,  seeing  that  there  was  no  escape,  "  If  she  be," 
quoth   he,    "the   setter  forth   and   defender  of  this 
religion    now    practised    in    England,    then    is    she 
a    schismatic    and    a    heretic."       Having  thus   got 
from  him  matter  for  a  capital  charge,  they  ordered 
him  back  to  prison. 

For  nearly  seven  weeks  he  remained  in  peace. 
Towards  the  end  of  this  time  a  special  providence 
secured  to  him  the  grace  of  saying  Mass  and 


22g  BLESSED   JOHN  NELSON 

nourishing  himself  with  the  Bread  of  the  Strong.  A 
priest  and  some  other  friends,  who  came  to  see  him 
and  knew  his  desire  to  say  Mass,  were  very  anxious 
to  assist  at  the  Sacrifice  and  receive  Holy  Com 
munion  from  his  hands.  They  proposed  the  feast  of 
the  Purification,  but  on  consultation  they  all  agreed 
that  it  would  be  a  dangerous  day,  as  such  a  festival 
would  be  likely  to  excite  suspicion.  They  then 
proposed  the  day  after,  but  whether  warned  by  a 
Divine  light  or  guided  by  Providence,  Blessed  John 
preferred  the  Thursday  before.  Had  the  other  day 
been  chosen  he  would  have  had  to  go  through  his 
martyrdom  without  the  Holy  Viaticum,  for  on  the 
very  next  day  after  his  Mass  he  was  told  he  was  to 
be  brought  to  trial  on  the  morrow,  which  would  be 
the  eve  of  the  Purification.  He  was  warned  at  the 
same  time  that  his  condemnation  was  certain  unless 
he  retracted  the  answers  he  had  given  at  his  first 
examination. 

Accordingly  on  Saturday,  the  ist  of  February, 
1577-8,  he  was  tried  on  the  charge,  as  Stow  testifies, 
of  "  denying  the  Queen's  Supremacy  and  such  other 
traitorous  words  against  her  Majesty."  The 
evidence  of  his  previous  examination  was  clear, 
and  confirmed  by  his  answers  in  court,  so  that  the 
verdict  was  a  matter  of  course,  and  sentence  was 
passed  accordingly,  at  which  it  was  remarked  that 
he  did  not  the  least  change  countenance,  or  betray 
any  sign  of  emotion. 

For  the  next  two  days— his  martyrdom  was  fixed 
for  the  third— he  was  confined,  his  biographer  says, 
•"  in  a  most  filthy  underground  dungeon."  It  was  no 


BLESSED   JOHN   NELSON  229 

doubt  the  same  afterwards  described  by  Father 
Henry  Garnet :  "  We  have  here  a  Limbo,"  he  says, 
"  the  place  where  they  ordinarily  confine  all  those 
who  have  been  already  condemned  to  death ;  and 
all  Catholics  under  sentence  of  death  have  to  go  to 
that  prison  before  execution,  unless  exempted  by  a 
particular  favour.  ...  It  is  a  place  underground, 
full  of  horrors,  without  light,  and  swarming  with 
vermin  and  creeping  things.  It  is  impossible  to  see 
there  without  candles  continually  burning,  and  there 
is  neither  bed  nor  chair,  unless  the  persons  provide 
for  themselves.  One  of  our  holy  martyrs,  a  priest 
(Father  Southwell),  was  there  some  years  ago  after 
being  sentenced  to  death,  and  whilst  sleeping  some 
poisonous  insect  entered  his  body  causing  intense 
suffering,  until  he  was  transferred  to  the  repose  of 
the  saints  and  just  ones  of  God."  * 

From  the  moment  of  his  condemnation  the 
servant  of  God  gave  himself  up  entirely  to  prepara 
tion  for  his  martyrdom.  He  would  take  no  other 
food  than  bread  and  a  little  weak  beer.  The  gaoler's 
wife  when  he  came  back  from  the  court,  offered  him 
some  wine  out  of  compassion,  thinking  he  must  be 
dejected  by  his  sentence.  But  he  refused  it.  He 
said  he  would  prefer  water,  or  rather  vinegar  and 
gall,  so  that  he  might  more  closely  follow  his  Lord, 
and  wished  to  give  no  indulgence  to  his  body 
which  was  so  soon  to  die.  He  spent  the  time 
chiefly  in  prayer,  and  when  he  had  occasion  to 
speak,  his  words  were  almost  exclusively  of  eternal 

J  Foley,  Records   of  the  English  Province  of  the  Society  of  Jesus, 
vol.  vii.  p.  1361. 


23o  BLESSED   JOHN   NELSON 

things.  A  friend  who  came  to  see  him  advised  him 
to  fortify  his  courage  by  reading  the  Acts  of  the 
Martyrs.  He  answered  "that  he  had  enough  to 
occupy  his  mind  withal,  and  to  meditate  upon  full 
well."  His  friend  went  on  to  remind  him  of  all 
the  torments  the  martyrs  had  borne,  and  of  the 
heroic  constancy  with  which  they  had  been  able  to 
endure  them.  "Yes,"  he  answered,  "these  thoughts 
have  long  been  familiar  to  my  mind  and  have  rilled 
me  with  such  sweetness  that  I  doubt  nothing  but 
that  I  shall  find  and  feel  the  grace  of  God's  conso 
lation  in  the  midst  of  my  agony." 

Early  on  the  day  of  his  martyrdom,  Monday, 
February  the  3rd,  he  was  transferred  to  a  better 
part  of  the  prison,  where  two  of  his  near  relations 
came  to  take  leave  of  him.  Very  likely  they  may 
have  been  his  brothers.  Dodd  says  of  Thomas 
Nelson,  then  a  priest,  that  he  had  the  satisfaction 
of  visiting  his  brother  before  his  death.  They  found 
him  absorbed  in  prayer,  his  hands  joined  and  lifted 
up.  They  were  overcome  with  tears,  but  the  martyr, 
unmoved,  said  they  ought  to  console  him  and  not 
need  his  consolation ;  and  that  they  would  do  better 
to  shed  their  tears  over  their  sins  than  over  him ; 
for  whom  all  things,  by  God's  goodness,  were 
falling  out  according  to  his  desire.  They  were 
going  to  bid  him  good-bye,  when  they  were  over 
powered  with  a  fresh  burst  of  grief;  on  which  the 
servant  of.  God,  feeling  that  he  was  beginning  to  be 
overcome,  and  fearing  the  weakness  of  nature,  very 
lovingly  sent  them  away.  Hardly  were  they  gone 
when  "  two  proud  ministers  of  Satan  "  burst  in  and 


BLESSED   JOHN   NELSON  231 

began  to  torment  his  last  moments  with  controversy, 
but  he  would  not  so  much  as  enter  into  conversation 
with  them,  and  finding  him  obstinately  silent  they 
at  last  gave  up  the  attempt. 

When  he  was  brought  out  of  the  prison  and  laid 
on  the  hurdle,  some  of  the  officers  called  on  him  to 
beg  pardon  of  the  Queen  for  his  great  offences 
against  her.  "  I  will  ask  no  pardon  of  her,"  he 
answered,  "for  I  have  never  offended  her."  The 
hostile  crowd  broke  into  cries  of  ''Traitor,"  and 
threats.  "  Well,"  said  he,  "  God's  will  be  done,  I 
perceive  I  must  die,  and  surely  I  am  ready  to  die 
with  a  good  will  ;  for  better  it  is  to  abide  all  punish 
ment  here,  be  it  never  so  grievous,  than  to  suffer  the 
eternal  torments  of  hell  fire." 

He  said,  In  jnanus  tuas  Doming f  as  he  was  lifted 
from  the  sledge  at  Tyburn,  and  begged  all  Catholics 
who  were  present  to  say  with  him  a  Pater,  Ave,  and 
Credo,  which  he  recited  aloud  in  Latin,  and  after 
which  he  added  the  Confiteor,  Miserere,  and  De 
profundis.  He  then  addressed  all  present,  saying, 
"  I  beg  you  to  bear  me  witness  that  I  die  in  the 
unity  of  the  Catholic  Church,  and  for  that  unity  do 
now  most  willingly  suffer  my  blood  to  be  shed  ;  and 
I  earnestly  beseech  of  God,  through  His  infinite 
mercy,  to  make  }'ou  all  true  Catholic  men,  and  both 
to  live  and  die  in  the  unity  of  the  Roman  and 
Catholic  Faith."  From  the  crowd  there  were  cries 
of  "Away  with  thee  and  thy  Catholic  Romish  Faith," 
but  the  martyr  was  not  to  be  cowed,  and  repeated 
his  prayer  again.  He  went  on  to  ask  pardon  of  all 
whom  he  had  ever  offended  and  to  declare  his 


232  BLESSED   JOHN   NELSON 

forgiveness  of  his  enemies  and  persecutors,  and  to 
pray  for  God's  forgiveness  for  them.  Being  urged 
again  to  ask  the  Queen's  forgiveness,  he  repeated 
that  he  could  not  do  so,  never  having  offended  her. 
But  after  a  pause  he  added  that  he  would  ask  pardon 
of  her  also  and  of  all  the  world  for  any  offence  he 
had  ever  given,  as  on  his  part  he  forgave  all. 

The  hangman  being  told  to  hasten,  the  martyr 
once  more  recommended  himself  to  the  prayers  of 
the  Catholics,  that  Christ  our  Lord  by  the  merits 
of  His  bitter  Passion  would  receive  his  soul  into 
eternal  joys,  and  as  they  drove  away  the  cart  and 
left  him  hanging,  many  voices  were  heard  to  cry 
out,  "Lord,  receive  his  soul."  He  was  cut  down 
immediately,  and  was  fully  conscious  while  the  usual 
cruelties  were  inflicted  ;  and  when  the  executioner 
had  his  hand  on  his  heart,  he  raised  himself  a  little 
and,  like  another  St.  Stephen,  in  the  very  agony  of 
death  said,  "  I  forgive  the  Queen  and  all  the  authors 
of  my  death."1 

A  friend  who  was  present,  as  he  rode  away 
immediately  to  the  north  of  England,  said  to  his 
companion,  "It  is  now  come  to  pass  that  John 
Nelson  foretold  me  seven  years  since,  that  he 
should  die  for  the  Catholic  Faith."  The  Brief e 
Historic  before  referred  to,  and  published  but  four 
years  later,  records  that  there  was  then  a  credible 
fame  of  miraculous  cures  wrought  by  the  martyr's 
relics. 


•  The  author  of  the  Brief  e  Historic  says,  "  Some  that  stood  near 
report  this,  ...  but  I,  though  I  saw  his  lips  move,  yet  heard  not 
so  much."  He  adds,  "The  hangman  had  three  or  four  blows  at 
his  head  before  he  could  strike  it  off." 


BLESSED   JOHN    NELSON  233 

Blessed  John  Nelson,  like  Thomas  Woodhouse, 
Thomas  Pound,  Thomas  Metham  and  others, 
was  an  admirer  of  the  Society  of  Jesus  before  its 
missioners  had  appeared  in  England,  and  like  them 
he  applied  abroad  for  leave  to  be  admitted  in  this 
country,  which  under  the  circumstances  he  could 
never  expect  to  quit,  and  his  prayer  like  theirs 
was  granted.  Though  we  do  not  know  to  which 
Provincial  he  addressed  himself,  nor  what  was  the 
date  of  his  application,  Father  Stephenson  has 
recorded  the  fact  of  his  admission,1  and  the  Fathers 
of  the  Society  keep  his  feast  with  that  of  their  other 
Martyrs  in  England. 

"  God  be  blessed  for  him,  and  blessed  be  the 
memory  of  this  his  martyrdom  amongst  men  in  all 
our  posterity.  Amen." 

E.  S.  K. 


AUTHORITIES. — The  earliest  printed  biography  seems  to 
be  that  included  in  A  briefe  Historic  of  the  Glorious  Martyrdom 
of  xii  Reverend  Priests  [?  Rheims],  1582,  unpaged.  See  also 
Concertatio,  fol.  49  A— 50  B,  Yepes,  pp.  304 — 307.  Champney's 
Annals,  p.  793.  Challoner,  i.  pp.  20 — 23. 


1  H.  More,  Historia  Provincia  Anglican^,  1660,  p.  35. 


VII. 
THE  BLESSED  THOMAS   SHERWOOD, 

LAYMAN. 
Tyburn,  7  February,   1577-8. 

ONLY  four  days  after  Blessed  John  Nelson's  martyr 
dom,  Tyburn  was  the  scene  of  another  like  tragedy 
and  another  like  triumph. 

Some  three  months  earlier,  in  the  first  half  of 
November,  1577,  a  noble-looking  youth  was  walking 
in  the  streets  of  London,  when  a  cry  was  heard, 
"  Stop  the  traitor,  stop  the  traitor!  "  on  which  the 
young  man  was  seized  by  the  passers-by  and  carried 
off  to  the  nearest  justice  of  the  peace.  The 
prisoner's  name  was  Thomas  Sherwood,  his  age 
twenty-seven  years. 

Blessed  Thomas  Sherwood  was  the  son  of  pious 
Catholic  parents.  We  have  a  beautiful  account 
both  of  him  and  his  family  written  by  one  of  his 
brothers,  which  has  been  preserved  among  the 
Stonyhurst  manuscripts.1  From  this  we  learn  that 
his  father,  Henry  Sherwood,  was  born  in  Not 
tingham,  and  was  brought  up  as  a  singing-boy  in 
the  chapel  of  the  Earl  of  Northumberland.  He  was 
1  Printed  in  Pollen's  Acts  of  English  Martyrs,  pp.  2—8. 


BLESSED    THOMAS   SHERWOOD  235 

afterwards  sent  to  Oxford  by  the  Earl,  in  the  reign 
of  Henry  VIII.,  where  he  continued  six  or  seven 
years,  but  was  unable  to  take  his  degree,  as  that 
involved  subscribing  to  the  Oath  of  Supremacy. 
On  leaving  the  University  he  entered  the  employ 
ment  of  a  Watling  Street  merchant  tailor,  and 
acted  for  some  time  as  his  factor  in  Spain.  On  his 
return  he  adopted  the  trade  of  a  woollen  draper, 
and  married  a  virtuous  maid  called  Elizabeth 
Tregian,1  by  whom  he  had  fourteen  children,  most 
of  whom  lived  to  man's  estate,  and  were  all  brought 
up  in  the  Catholic  religion. 

When  Elizabeth  came  to  the  throne,  Henry 
Sherwood  retired  for  a  time  to  Belgium  and  lived 
for  a  year  at  Mechlin,  where  the  nuns  of  Syon 
had  also  found  a  refuge.  Shortly  after  his  return  to 
England  he  and  his  wife  were  taken  at  Mass  in 
London,  and  were  brought  before  the  High  Com 
missioners.  His  wife  made  a  very  brave  confession, 
and  put  Dr.  Cox,  the  Bishop  of  Ely,  to  shame  by 
her  trenchant  replies  to  his  calumnies  against 
Catholics. 

Her  husband  was  committed  to  prison,  where  he 
remained  six  months,  being  released  at  last  through 
the  intercession  of  the  Spanish  Ambassador.  He 
then  went  with  his  wife  and  younger  children  to 
live  at  Nottingham,  where  after  some  years,  being 
called  in  question  for  not  coming  to  church,  they 
went  to  stay  with  one  of  their  sons,  who  was  married, 
in  Dorsetshire.  That  son  being  molested  for  the 

1  Sister  to  Mr.  Francis  Tregian,  the  noble  confessor,  in  whose 
house  Blessed  Cuthbert  Mayne  was  taken. 


236  BLESSED    THOMAS   SHERWOOD 

same  cause,  they  all  went  to  London,  where  the 
old  man  lived  a  life  of  strict  retirement,  attending 
only  to  his  devotions  and  never  leaving  his  lodging. 
It  was  shortly  after  their  coming  to  London  that 
Thomas  was  apprehended. 

The  Blessed  Thomas  had  been  born  in  London 
and  had  been  brought  up  for  some  years  at  school. 
But  at  the  age  of  fifteen  he  was  taken  from  school 
to  serve  his  father  in  the  trade  of  a  draper,  which 
he  did  for  several  years. 

"Afterwards,"  writes  his  brother,  "being  more 
devoted  to  a  religious  course  of  life  than  to  a 
worldly,  he  obtained  from  his  parents  leave  to  pass 
the  seas  and  come  to  Douay,  where,  having  con 
ferred  with  certain  venerable  Fathers,  by  them  he 
was  encouraged  to  fall  again  to  study  ;  and  deter 
mining  upon  that  course,  it  was  thought  fit  he 
should  first  return  into  England,  as  well  to  adjustate 
his  accounts  with  his  father,  having  the  best  part 
of  his  substance  in  his  hands  and  charge,  as  also 
to  procure  some  competent  means  to  maintain  him 
for  some  time  at  his  study. 

"  Upon  which  occasion  he  returned  back,  and 
whiles  he  travailed  in  the  despatch  of  his  business 
he  was  met  one  morning  in  Chancery  Lane  by  one 
George  Martin,1  son  to  the  Lady  Tregonwell,  in 
Dorsetshire,  which  George  had  seen  him  divers 
times  at  his  mother's  house  in  the  company  of  one 
Mr.  Stampe,  a  priest;  and  so  meeting  him  and 
calling  for  the  constable,  caused  him  to  be  appre 
hended." 

1  "  Martine  Tregonian."  (Briefe  Historie.) 


BLESSED   THOMAS   SHERWOOD  237 

Father  Persons,1  in  his  De  Persecutione  Anglicana, 
calls  the  Lady  "  Tregony,"  and  Challoner  says  the 
martyr  was  wont  to  frequent  her  house  in  London. 
She  was  a  good  and  virtuous  Catholic,  but  her  son 
was  widely  different  from  his  mother  both  in  faith 
and  morals.2  "  This  young  spark  suspected  that 
Mass  was  sometimes  privately  said  in  his  mother's 
house  ;  and  this,  as  he  imagined,  by  the  means  of 
Mr.  Sherwood,  which  was  the  occasion  of  his 
conceiving  an  implacable  hatred  against  him."3 

1  In  Bridgwater's  Concertatip,  fol.  288. 

2  The   Tregonwells   lived    at    Milton    Abbas,    near     Blandford, 
Dorset.      The  Sherwoods  probably  made  the  lady's  acquaintance 
when  they  were  living  in  Dorsetshire.  She  was  no  doubt  the  widow 
of  Sir  John  Tregonwell,  and  had  been  his  second  wife.    She  was  by 
birth  a  New.     Sir  John  Tregonwell    had    been    one  of  the    Royal 
Commissioners   for    the     dissolution    of   the    monasteries    under 
Henry  VIII.  and  had  obtained   Milton  Abbey  as  his  share  of  the 
spoil.     His  tomb  is  still  to  be  seen  in  the  desecrated  church,  with 
his  effigy  in  brass.     He  is  kneeling,  clad  in  armour,  with    surcoat 
bearing    the  Tregonwell  arms,  and  the  inscription  runs:    "Here 
lyeth  buried  Sir  John  Tregonwell,   Knyght,   doctor  of  the    cyvill 
lawes,  and  one  of  the  maisters  of  the  Chauncerye,  who  dyed  the 
xiiith  day  of  January,  in  the  yere  of  our  lorde  1565,  of  whose  soul 
God  have  mercy." 

It  should  be  added,  that  Bishop  Challoner  was  mistaken  when 
he  writes  of  our  martyr,  "  He  went  over  to  the  English  College  of 
Douay,  in  Flanders,  where  I  find  him,  in  the  diary  of  the  house, 
a  student,  in  1576."  The  only  Sherwood  who  appears  in  the  Diary 
at  that  date  is  a  priest.  (Douay  Diaries,  pp.  102,  259.)  Father 
Persons,  however,  is  also  mistaken  when  he  asserts  (Philopater,  1593, 
p.  186)  that  Sherwood  had  never  been  out  of  England.  In  a  list  of 
martyrs  of  the  Seminaries  of  Douay  and  Rome,  drawn  up  by 
Dr.  Barrett,  in  1593,  Sherwood's  name  appears  as  a  student  of 
Douay  College,  and  the  statement  has  been  copied  by  later  writers. 
Though  he  never  actually  studied  there,  it  will  be  seen  from  the 
text,  that  there  was  some  justification  for  this  claim. 

3  Challoner,  i.  p.  23. 


238  BLESSED    THOMAS    SHERWOOD 

The  result  was  the  cruel  and  cowardly  denunciation 
of  his  mother's  friend  to  the  persecuting  instincts 
of  the  London  crowd. 

When  however  they  arrived  before  the  Justice, 
who  was  none  other  than  Mr.  Recorder  Fleetwood, 
one  of  the  bitterest  enemies  of  Catholics,  the  young 
man  had  no  charge  to  bring  against  Blessed  Thomas. 
All  he  could  say  was  that  he  suspected  him  to  be  a 
Papist,  that  he  was  much  in  the  company  of  priests, 
and  had  been  across  the  seas  and  had  no  doubt 
conferred  with  traitors  there.  But  he  had  rightly 
gauged  the  present  administration  of  law  and  justice. 
In  default  of  an  offence  the  magistrate  set  to  work 
to  create  one,  as  the  High  Commissioners  did 
shortly  after  with  the  Blessed  John  Nelson.  He  put 
a  string  of  questions  about  the  Queen  and  the 
Pope's  Supremacy,  the  heretical  or  schismatical 
character  of  the  new  religion,  and  whether  the 
Queen  were  a  heretic  or  not.  It  required  but  little 
skill  to  entrap  the  ingenuous  youth,  who  made  no 
attempt  to  evade  the  questions,  but  answered  plainly 
according  to  his  conscience.  He  preserved  none 
the  less  a  modest  and  respectful  manner,  "  being  of 
his  nature,"  says  his  brother,  "very  meek  and 
gentle."  He  was  pressed  by  the  Justice  as  to  what 
he  thought  of  the  Bull  of  Pius  V.,  and  whether,  if 
the  Pope  had  excommunicated  Queen  Elizabeth,  she 
were  then  lawful  Queen  or  no.  He  answered  that  he 
knew  nothing  of  the  Bull,  but  if  the  Pope  had  indeed 
excommunicated  the  Queen,  he  thought  she  could 
not  be  lawful  Queen. 

This    was    of    course    quite    sufficient    for    the 


BLESSED   THOMAS   SHERWOOD  239 

purpose  of  his  enemies,  and  the  martyr  was  at  once 
committed  to  the  Gatehouse  at  Westminster,  while 
Fleetwood  made  haste  to  acquaint  her  Majesty's 
Council  of  his  important  capture.  The  Attorney- 
General,  Gilbert  Gerard,  was  thereupon  ordered  to 
go  to  the  prison  and  receive  his  examination.  He 
did  so  on  November  the  2oth,  and  there  obtained 
again  from  the  martyr  the  statement  as  to  the 
excommunication  of  the  Queen,  which  Fleetwood 
had  already  got  from  him.  According  to  the 
iniquity  of  the  times  the  utterance  so  obtained  was 
treated  as  an  act  of  high  treason,  and  for  it  he  finally 
suffered.  As,  however,  he  would  not  confess  the 
names  of  any  other  Catholics,  he  was  sent  to  the 
Tower,  where  his  examination  was  continued  under 
torture.1 

The  Council  Book  contains  two  entries  on  the 
i;th  of  November,  1577,  which  shall  be  here 
inserted. 

''Windsor,  i7th  November,  1577. 
"A  letter  to  Mr.  Attorney-General,  signifying 
unto  him  that  he  shall  receive  the  examination  of 
one  Thomas  Sherwood,  lately  committed  by  the  High 
Commissioners,  for  hearing  of  a  Mass,  and  since 
examined  by  Mr.  Recorder  of  London  :  which  exami 
nation  containing  matter  of  high  treason  against 
her  Majesty's  person,  their  Lordships  have  thought 
good  to  send  unto  him  and  require  him,  after  he 
shall  have  substantially  considered  thereof,  to 
acquaint  the  Lord  Chief  Justice  therewith,  and 

1  "  Being  the  first  that  was  racked  for  mere  matter  of  faith  in 
our  memories."  (Brief e  Historic.) 


24o  BLESSED    THOMAS   SHERWOOD 

presently  to  give  order  that  the  said  Sherwood  be 
this  term  arraigned  and  proceeded  against  according 
to  the  laws  of  this  realm  in  that  behalf  provided  ; 
but  before  they  proceed  to  his  arraignment,  to  take 
some  pains  further  to  examine  him  both  upon  the 
points  of  his  confession,  and  also  to  see  if  he  can 
discover  any  others  of  his  knowledge  to  be  of  his 
opinion  ;  and  where,  and  of  whom,  he  hath  gathered 
the  substance  of  his  arguments  gained  in  his 
said  confession,  wherein  perchance  he  may  bolt 
out  some  other  matters  or  persons  worthy  to  be 
known." 

At  the  same  time  they  sent 

"  A  letter  to  the  Lieutenant  of  the  Tower  requir 
ing  him  to  receive  into  his  hands,  of  Mr.  Recorder  of 
London,  the  person  of  Thomas  Sherwood,  and  to 
retain  him  close  prisoner,  and  from  conference  with 
any  person,  until  such  time  as  he  shall  receive  order 
from  Mr.  Attorney-General,  \vho  is  appointed  to 
examine  him  upon  such  matters  as  he  is  to  be 
charged  withal :  and  showing  this  their  Lordships' 
letter  to  Mr.  Recorder,  which  shall  be  his  sufficient 
warrant  for  the  delivery  of  him. 

"  He  is  required  in  a  postscript  that  if  the  said 
Sherwood  shall  not  willingly  confess  such  things  as 
shall  be  demanded  of  him,  he  is  then  required  to 
commit  him  to  the  dungeon  amongst  the  rats."1 

1  A  Reading  on  the  Use  of  Torture  in  the  Criminal  Law  of  England, 
by  David  Jardine,  Appendix,  p.  79.  The  substance  of  the  letters 
is  printed  by  Father  Pollen  (Acts  of  English  Martyrs,  pp.  u  and  12), 
and  the  full  text  in  Dasent's  Acts  of  the  Privy  Council. 


BLESSED   THOMAS  SHERWOOD  241 

This  last  direction  would  have  seemed  incredible 
were  it  not  found  in  the  Council  books  themselves. 
According  to  Mr.  Jardine,  this  dungeon  "  is 
described  as  a  cell  below  high  water  mark  and 
totally  dark.  As  the  tide  flowed,  innumerable  rats, 
which  infest  the  muddy  banks  of  the  Thames,  were 
driven  through  the  orifices  of  the  walls  into  the 
dungeon.  The  alarm  excited  by  the  irruption  of 
these  loathsome  creatures  in  the  dark  was  the  least 
part  of  the  torture  which  the  unfortunate  captives 
had  to  undergo;  instances  are  related,  which 
humanity  would  gladly  believe  to  be  the  exaggera 
tions  of  Catholic  partisans,  where  the  flesh  has 
been  torn  from  the  arms  and  legs  of  prisoners 
during  sleep  by  the  well-known  voracity  of  these 
animals."  l 

Here  then  our  brave  young  martyr  was  thrown. 
and  here  he  lay  for  well-nigh  three  winter  months, 
only  leaving  the  horrible  place  for  the  still  more 
terrible  torture-chamber  hard  by.  He  suffered  from 
"cold,  stench,  and  hunger,"  and  it  was  evidently 
intended  by  the  rigour  of  his  suffering  to  force 
him  to  give  information  as  to  where  he  had  heard 
Mass  and  what  priests  had  said  it.  It  was  no  doubt 
because  they  failed  in  the  attempt  that  recourse  was 
had  to  still  more  cruel  means.  Three  times  the 
martyr  was  most  sorely  racked  in  the  vaulted 
chamber  near  which  he  had  been  confined.  This 
torture  he  bore  with  a  supernatural  fortitude 
not  unequal  to  that  of  the  early  martyrs,  and 
strengthened  by  God  he  persisted  in  refusing  any 
1  Op.  cit.  p.  26. 

Q  n. 


242  BLESSED   THOMAS   SHERWOOD 

information  which  could  have  betrayed  others  or 
brought  them  into  danger.  And  here  again,  the 
Council  Book  corroborates  the  Martyr's  Acts. 
"Sherwood's  courage  and  constancy,"  says  Mr. 
Jardine,  "overcame  the  horrors  of  this  dungeon; 
and  continuing  his  resolution,  a  warrant  was  issued 
from  the  Board,  on  the  4th  of  December,  1577, 
authorizing  the  Lieutenant,  the  Attorney— and 
Solicitor-General,  and  the  Recorder  '  to  assay  him 
at  the  rack.'  This  also  appears  to  have  failed, 
for  he  made  no  discoveries  of  importance."1  The 
warrant  is  printed  in  Mr.  Jardine's  Appendix,  and 
directs  that  the  commissioners  are  to  "  assay  him 
at  the  rack  upon  such  articles  as  they  shall  think 
meet  to  minister  unto  him  for  the  discovering  either 
of  the  persons  or  of  further  matter." 

We  may  now  continue  our  narrative  from  a 
contemporary  document  by  an  anonymous  writer, 
which  though  undated  must  have  been  written 


before  1582,^3  it  is  quoted  by  Father  Persons  in  his 


De  Persecution  Anglicana,  which  was  printed  in  that 
year 


"The  brave  youth  was  sent  to  the  Tower,  .  .  . 
and  meantime  the  chamber  he  had  in  the  city  was 
ransacked  (according  to  the  custom  of  those  harpies) 
and  all  his  goods  removed,  together  with  about 
ninety  pieces  of  gold  belonging  to  other  persons, 
which  were  owing  to  his  needy  and  afflicted  father, 

1  Jardine,  p.  27. 

2  Ibid,  p-  81.     It  is  also  given  in  Pollen's  Acts  of  English  Martyrs, 

PP-  13.  M- 


BLESSED    THOMAS   SHERWOOD 


as    if   the    pieces   themselves    were   guilty   of    high 
treason    and    denial    of    the    Supremacy.       In    the 
prison  Sherwood  suffered  very  grievous  things  with 
a   constancy    worthy    of   all    praise.   ...  To    begin 
with,  the    holy    youth    was    harassed     by    repeated 
torturings,    in   order  that   overcome    with    pain,   he 
might  confess  where  he    had   heard    Mass,    to '  the 
intent  that   any  he   might  name,  might  be  punished 
with  like  plunder  of  goods  and   bodily  injury.     But 
he  was  brave  beyond  his  years,  no  racking,  no  cross- 
examination  could  make  him  name  any  one.     Thus 
baulked,     his    barbarous    torturers    changed     their 
proceedings  and  cast  the  martyr,  who  had  now  lost 
the  use   of  his   limbs,    into    a    very   dark   and    fetid 
dungeon.      Here     he    was    left     without     necessary 
clothing,  in  order  that   the   terrors  of  darkness,  the 
stench,  and   most   of  all,   the  shameful   nakedness, 
might  break  his  resolution,  which  no  torture  could 
move.     As  to  food,  it  is  easy  to  conjecture  of  what 
sort  it  was,  seeing  that  he  was  not  allowed  to  buy 
anything  to  sustain  life— nay,  more,  what  calls  for 
the   utmost  commiseration   is  that   when   a    certain 
good   man,1  touched   by  the  report  of  the  extreme 
hunger  which  the  blessed  youth  was   suffering,  sent 
him  some  money,  and  by  means  of  a  prisoner  con 
veyed  it  to  Sherwood's  own  keeper  (this  everyone  in 
the  Tower  has),  the  keeper   returned    it  next  day, 
because  the  Lieutenant  would  not  allow  him  to  have 

1  Father  Persons  has  added  in  a  note  :  "  Mr.  Roper,  son-in-law 
to  Thomas  More."  William  Roper  died  January  4>  1577-8,  not  in 
1573-  as  Cresacre  More,  Life  of  Sir  Thomas  More,  p.  119,  Edition 
of  1725,  erroneously  says. 


244  BLESSED   THOMAS   SHERWOOD 

the  benefit  of  any  alms.  The  martyr's  friend  asked 
whether  the  keeper  himself  would  not  expend  it  for 
his  benefit,  but  he  was  told  it  was  impossible.  All 
that  the  most  earnest  prayers  could  effect  was  to 
induce  him  to  take  sixpence  to  buy  straw  for  the 
youth  to  lie  on,  so  great  was  the  inhumanity  of  the 
Lieutenant  towards  his  starving  prisoner." 

Blessed  Thomas's  brother  gives  us  some  more 
precious  details. 

"  He  was  of  small  learning,  scarcely  understand 
ing  the  Latin  tongue,  but  had  much  read  books  of 
controversies  and  devotion,  and  had  used  much  to 
converse  among  Catholic  priests,  and  by  reason 
thereof,  having  a  good  wit  and  judgment,  and 
withal  being  very  devout  and  religious,  he  was 
able  to  give  good  counsel,  as  he  did  to  many  of 
the  more  ignorant  sort,  being  much  esteemed  for 
his  virtuous  life  and  humble  and  modest  behaviour: 
besides  God  did  give  a  special  grace  in  his  [con 
versation]  ,  whereby  together  with  his  good  example 
of  life,  he  much  moved  and  edified  others.  He  was 
a  man  of  little  stature  of  body,  yet  of  a  healthful 
and  good  constitution,  and  very  temperate  in  his 
diet. 

"After  his  first  racking  in  the  Tower  (which  was 
said  to  be  rigorous),  being  visited  by  a  Catholic 
gentlewoman,  he  showed  himself  of  that  joyful  and 
comfortable  spirit  as  she  was  astonished  thereat. 
As  also  his  keeper  with  compassion  giving  him 
warning  that  he  was  to  be  racked  again,  he  was 


BLESSED    THOMAS   SHERWOOD  245 

so  little  moved  therewith,  as  merrily  and  with  a 
cheerful  countenance  he  said  these  words  :  '  I  am 
very  little,  and  you  are  very  tall ;  you  may  hide  me 
in  your  great  hose  and  so  they  shall  not  rind  me ;  ' 
which  the  keeper  did  afterwards  report  to  divers, 
much  marvelling  at  his  great  fortitude  and  courage. 
He  was  about  the  age  of  twenty-seven  years  when 
he  was  martyred."  l 

Our  martyr  was  brought  to  trial  on  Saturday, 
the  ist  of  February,  1577-8.  The  official  record  of 
his  trial  still  exists.'  It  took  place  in  the  Court  of 
the  (jueen's  Bench  at  Westminster.  The  martyr 

1  Hallam  states  that  the  Blessed  Thomas  was  only  fourteen 
years  of  age,  and  the  mistake  has  been  repeated  by  more  than  one 
recent  writer.  Hallam  makes  the  statement  on  the  authority  of 
Kibadeneyra  (Continuatio  Sanderi  ct  Rishtani,  chap,  xxvi.),  writing 
many  years  later.  The  brother's  witness  conclusively  shows  that 
Ribadeneyra  was  mistaken.  The  following  conjecture  is  offered  to 
the  reader  as  a  possible  explanation  of  the  error.  The  Philopater 
of  Father  Persons  appeared  at  Lyons  in  1592;  Kibadeneyra's 
Appendix,  or  Continuation  oj  Sander  and  Rishton,  which  refers  to  the 
former  work,  was  published  probably  with  an  edition  of  the  History 
of  the  English  Schism  in  1^94  (Dodd  says  1595).  Whoever  will 
compare  the  passage  of  Ribadeneyra  about  Blessed  Thomas 
Sherwood  (chap,  xxvi.)  with  that  of  1'ersons  (sect.  iv.  266)  will 
see  that  the  former  is  taken  almost  textually  from  the  latter.  Now 
Persons  begins  his  passage  with  the  words,  Quid  .  .  .  cans*  fuit 
cur  annis  abhinc  quatuordecim,  juvenem  praclarum,  &c.  Kibadeneyra  (in 
the  Latin  translation  of  ibio),  Adolescens,  imo  puer  quatuordecim 
annonim,  liberalis  admodum  jovma,  &c.  Is  it  fanciful  to  suppose  that 
from  an  imperfect  recollection  of  Persons'  book,  or  badly  written 
notes,  he  mistook  the  passage  from  Philopater  for  annos  natum  quatuor 
decim  :j  it  may  be  added  that  he  probably  was  boyish-looking  and 
young  for  his  age  as  well  as  small  of  stature,  as  all  the  authorities 
dwell  so  much  on  his  youth. 

-  Coiam  Rege  Roll.  (20  Elizabeth,  rot.  3.) 


246  BLESSED   THOMAS   SHERWOOD 


was  accused  in  the  indictment  of  having  on 
November  the  2Oth  last  "  diabolically,  maliciously, 
and  traitorously  ...  of  his  own  perverse  and 
treacherous  mind  and  imagination,  ...  in  the 
presence  and  hearing  of  divers  faithful  subjects  of 
the  said  Lady  our  Queen "  uttered,  answered, 
published,  and  said  "these  false  traitorous  English 
words  following,  .  .  .  falsely,  maliciously,  advisedly, 
directly,  and  treacherously — to  wit,  '  that  for  so  much 
as  our  Queen  Elizabeth  .  .  .  doth  expressly  disassent 
in  Religion  from  the  Catholic  faith,  of  which  Catholic 
faith,  he  sayeth  thai  the  Pope  Gregory  the  thirteenth  that 
now  is,  is  conserver,  because  he  is  God's  General  Vicar 
in  earth  :  and  therefore  he  ajfirmeth  by  express  words 
that  our  said  Queen  Elizabeth  .  .  .  is  a  schismatic  and 
an  heretic:'  to  the  very  great  scandal  and  deroga 
tion  of  the  person  of  our  said  Lady  the  Queen, 
and  the  subversion  of  the  state  of  this  realm  of 
England,"  &c. 

The  other  words  of  which  he  was  accused  (for 
we  may  spare  the  reader  any  more  of  the  redundant 
adjectives  and  adverbs  which  besprinkle  the  report 
so  lavishly),  were  those  which  we  have  already 
quoted  as  having  been  extorted  from  him  by 
Fleetwood,  and  again  by  the  Attorney-General,  as  to 
the  excommunication  of  the  Queen. 

The  martyr  having  pleaded  not  guilty,  the  trial 
was  fixed  for  the  following  Monday,  "the  morrow  of 
the  Purification  of  Blessed  Mary  the  Virgin,"  on  which 
day  he  was  speedily  found  guilty  and  condemned 
to  death  in  the  usual  form,  i.e.,  "  that  the  aforesaid 
Thomas  Sherwood  be  led  by  the  aforesaid  Lieutenant 


BLESSED    THOMAS   SHERWOOD  247 

unto  the  Tower  of  London,  and  thence  be  dragged 
through  the  midst  of  the  city  of  London,  directly 
unto  the  gallows  of  Tyburn,  and  upon  the  gallows 
there  be  hanged,  and  thrown  living  to  the  earth, 
and  that  his  bowels  be  taken  from  his  belly,  and 
whilst  he  is  alive  be  burnt,  and  that  his  head  be 
cut  off,  and  that  his  body  be  divided  into  four 
parts,  and  that  his  head  and  quarters  be  placed 
where  our  Lady  the  Queen  shall  please  to  assign 
them." 

There  is  no  account  preserved  of  the  martyrdom. 
It  took  place  on  Friday,  February  the  jth,  at 
Tyburn  ; l  and  the  Acts  expressly  mention  that  after 
the  hanging,  the  other  barbarous  details  of  the 
execution  were  inflicted  on  him  while  still  alive  and 
conscious. 

Three  weeks  later  one  who  arrived  at  Douay 
from  England  brought  the  news  that  "  for  the 
profession  of  the  Catholic  faith  a  certain  youth 
named  Thomas  Sherwood  had  endured  not  prisons 
only  but  even  death  :  and  that  in  all  his  torments 
his  cry  had  been,  '  Lord  Jesus,  I  am  not  worthy  to 
suffer  these  things  for  Thee,  much  less  to  receive 
those  rewards  which  Thou  hast  promised  to  such  as 
confess  Thee.' ' 

Can  we  conclude  this  sketch  of  the  life  and 
sufferings  of  this  bright  and  heroic  soul  better  than 


1  The  writs  to  the  Lieutenant  of  the  Tower  to  deliver  up 
Sherwood  to  the  Sheriffs,  and  that  to  the  Sheriffs  of  London  to 
conduct  him  to  execution,  are  in  the  Controlment  Koll  (20  Elizabeth, 
rot.  29).  See  Pollen,  Acts  of  English  Martyrs,  p.  19.  Stow  records 
the  execution  in  his  Chronicle. 


248  BLESSED  THOMAS   SHERWOOD 

in  the  words  of  his  ancient  biographer  ? — "  Farewell, 
most  holy  martyr,  and  help  with  your  patronage 
me,  a  most  unworthy  sinner,  who  am  labouring  to 
increase  your  honour  here  on  earth.  Amen." 

ED. 


AUTHORITIES. — Briefe  Historic,  p.  158.  Concertatio  (1589), 
ff,  ygB — go  A.  Yepes,  pp.  360,  361.  Raissius,  Catalogue 
Sacerdotum  Anglo -Duacenorum.  Champney's  Annals  (in  West 
minster  Archives),  p.  740.  Challoner  (1874),  i.  pp.  23,  24. 
Pollen,  Acts  of  English  Martyrs,  pp.  1—20.  Dasent,  Acts  of  the 
Privy  Council. 


VIII. 
THE   BLESSED   EVERARD    HANSE, 

SECULAR    PRIEST. 
Tyburn,  31  July,  1581. 

Two  opposite  currents  were  becoming  stronger  day 
by  day  in  England.  On  the  one  hand,  the  labours 
of  the  new  missionaries,  in  spite  of  the  heat  of 
persecution,  brought  a  great  many  into  the  Church. 
But  on  the  other  hand,  among  large  numbers,  there 
was  a  cruel  and  growing  eagerness,  fostered  and 
rewarded  by  the  Government,  and  stimulated  by 
every  art  of  calumny  and  misrepresentation,  to 
track  down  the  devoted  priests  and  hunt  them  to 
death  as  if  they  were  a  natural  prey.  It  was  thus 
that  the  Blessed  Everard  Hanse  obtained  the  crown 
of  martyrdom.  He  was  visiting  some  prisoners  for 
the  Faith  in  the  Marshalsea  Prison,  an  every-day 
event  in  the  prison  discipline  of  the  day,  when  the 
gaoler  noticed  the  foreign  make  of  his  boots.  This 
was  enough  to  awaken  suspicion  in  the  excitement 
of  the  time,  roused,  as  it  was,  to  the  highest  pitch 
by  the  search  for  Father  Campion,  and  his  capture 
which  had  just  been  effected.  Hanse  was  at  once 
brought  before  a  magistrate  and  required  to  give 


23o  BLESSED   EVERARD   HANSE 

an  account  of  himself.  He  made  no  attempt  to 
evade  the  inquiry,  but  with  fearless  openness  declared 
that  he  was  a  priest,  and  was  immediately  com 
mitted  to  Newgate,  and  as  if  he  were  a  most 
dangerous  and  degraded  criminal,  heavily  ironed 
and  placed  amongst  the  felons  there. 

He  was  born   in  Northamptonshire.     His  father 
and  mother  were  both  followers  of  the  new  religion, 
and  Everard  was  sent  to  Cambridge.     His  abilities 
attracted   attention,   and    having  received   heretical 
Orders  he  was  presented  to  a  rich  living.     His  MS. 
Acts1  speak  of  him   as  surrounded  by  an  admiring 
crowd  when  he  preached,  and  as  much  carried  away 
by  his  success.   Meantime  his  elder  brother,  William, 
had  obeyed  the  call  of  divine  grace  and  left  England 
to  prepare  himself  for  the  priesthood.  The  Seminary 
had    been    shortly  before    obliged  to   leave   Douay, 
largely  owing  to  the  intrigues  of  Elizabeth  against 
it,  and  in  March,  1578,  had  found  a  refuge  at  Rheims 
under  the  protection  of   the   Cardinal  Archbishop, 
Louis    of   Guise.     William  Hanse  arrived  there  on 
November   the   nth   following  the   transfer,  and  in 
the  course  of  the  next  spring  was  ordained,  said  his 
first  Mass  on  April   the  28th,  and  was  sent  on  the 
perilous  English  Mission  on  the  23rd  of  May,  1579. 
The  two   brothers   had   many  discussions  about 
religion,  but   Everard    remained    unmoved.      God's 
mercy,  however,  had   singled  him   out  not  only  for 
the  grace  of  conversion,  but  for  the  glory  of  martyr 
dom.     In  the  midst  of  his  prosperity  he  was  struck 
down   by  a   dangerous   illness.     As   he   lay   long   in 

1  Westminster  Archives,  vol.  ii.  p.  175- 


BLESSED   EVERARD   HANSE  25r 


extreme  suffering,  hovering  between  life  and  death, 
things  began  to  appear  to  him  in  a  new  aspect,  and 
God  completed  His  work  by  some  supernatural 
light,  the  nature  of  which  his  Acts  do  not  specify. 
He  did  not  delay.  His  brother  was  summoned  to 
his  sick-bed,  and  had  the  consolation  of  instructing 
him  in  the  Faith,  and  receiving  him  into  the  unity 
of  the  Church. 

Everard  did  not  give  himself  to  God  by  halves. 
As  soon  as  he  was  recovered  and  had  resigned  his 
living,  he  set  out  for  Rheims,  with  the  desire  of 
becoming  a  teacher  of  the  truth  amongst  his 
countrymen  to  whom  he  had  been  a  preacher  of 
error.  He  was  admitted  to  the  Seminary  on  the 
nth  of  June,  1580,  just  four  days  after  the  Blessed 
Edmund  Campion  and  Father  Persons  had  left  for 
England. 

At  this  time  the  College  was  more  than  ever 
like  a  busy  hive,  priests  or  students  were  con 
tinually  arriving  from  or  setting  out  for  England, 
Rome  and  Paris;  the  lectures  in  Theology,  Philo 
sophy,  Scripture,  the  Classics,  and  Hebrew,  were  in 
full  activity;  the  version  of  the  New  Testament 
was  nearing  completion,  and  controversial  works 
succeeded  each  other  rapidly.  So  far  from  the 
migration  to  Rheims  having  injured  its  work,  there 
were  this  year  no  fewer  than  one  hundred  and  twelve 
members  in  residence,  besides  others  living  in  the 
town,  and  joining  in  the  studies.  Such  was  the  life 
in  which  the  new  convert  found  himself.  He  lost 
no  time  in  applying  himself  with  his  whole  energy 
to  theology,  especially  moral  theology,  and  the 


252  BLESSED   EVERARD   HANSE 

practical  duties  of  a  missionary  priest,  and  rapidly 
acquired  a  sufficient  knowledge  to  warrant  his 
Superiors  in  presenting  him  for  ordination.  The 
English  fields  were  ripe  for  the  harvest,  labourers 
were  urgently  needed,  and  no  time  was  to  be  lost. 
Besides  all  this,  our  martyr,  we  are  told,  was 
filled  with  an  "unspeakable  desire  to  gain  others, 
but  especially  some  of  his  dearest  friends  into  the 
unity  of  the  Church."  On  the  2ist  of  the  February 
following  his  arrival,  he  was  ordained  subdeacon, 
and  on  Holy  Saturday,  which  in  1581  was  March 
the  25th,  he  was  raised  to  the  priesthood  in  the 
Church  of  our  Blessed  Lady  at  Rheirns,  by  the 
Bishop  of  Chalons,  being  one  of  thirteen,  of  whom 
four  besides  himself  were  afterwards  martyrs.  He 
said  his  first  Mass  on  April  the  4th,  and  on  the  24th 
set  out  for  England,  with  three  other  priests. 

During  the  latter  months  of  his  residence  at 
Rheims,  the  College  diaries  record  again  and  again 
harrowing  accounts  of  the  seizures,  imprisonments, 
and  torturings  of  the  missionaries  of  which  the 
news  reached  the  Seminary  from  England.1 

But  so  far  from  being  terrified  by  these  horrors 
or  hesitating  in  their  purpose,  the  students  were 
only  more  eager  for  the  combat.  Two  years  later 
(the  i4th  of  April,  1583),  Dr.  Barrett  wrote2  from 
Rheims  to  Father  Agazzari : 

"  There  is  among  all  a  great  fervour  of  charity, 
and  an  exceeding  desire  to  aid  our  country.  They 

1  Knox,    Douay     Diaries     (Diarium     Secundum),    September    18, 
October  9,  December  22,  1580;  January   25,  January   31,  1581. 

2  Ibid.  Introduction,  p.  Ixxxii. 


BLESSED   EVERARD   HANSE  253 

seem  to  me  like  men  striving  with  all  their  might 
to  put  out  a  conflagration.  They  cannot  in  any 
way  be  kept  back  from  England." 

Allen  wrote  of  the  very  period  under  discussion:1 

"  These  late  terrors  (thanks  be  to  God) 
trouble  them  so  little,  that  divers  straight  upon  the 
arrival  here  in  Rheims  of  the  late  proclamation  of 
January  (1581),  came  to  their  Superiors  to  desire 
leave  to  go  in  ;  and  being  answered  that  the  times 
were  not  seasonable,  they  said  it  was  no  God-a- 
mercy  for  a  priest  to  enter  in  at  other  times,  but 
that  they  were  brought  up  and  made  specially  for 
such  days,  and  nineteen  persons  the  same  week 
following  took  Holy  Orders." 

That  ordination  would  seem  by  the  Diary-  to 
have  been  the  very  one  in  which  Blessed  Everard 
Hanse  was  made  subdeacon.  We  may  well  suppose 
that  he  returned  to  England,  anticipating,  even 
by  the  light  of  common  sense,  but  a  short 
apostolate.  He  took  the  precaution  of  adopting  a 
feigned  name,  and  passed  as  Evans  Duckett.  From 
this  time  the  practice  was  usually  adopted  by  the 
missionaries.  It  was  unfortunately  only  a  slight 
protection  against  the  ubiquitous  spies  of  Cecil 

1  Allen,  Apology  for  the  English  Seminaries  (Mounts  in  Renault, 
1581),  f.  85  v. 

a  Knox,  Douay  Diaries  (Diarium  Secnndum),  February  21,  1581. 
This  entry  follows  immediately  that  of  February  12,  which  records 
the  news  of  the  January  Proclamation 


254  BLESSED   EVERARD   HANSE 

and  Walsingham,  who  penetrated  even  into  the 
seminaries  and  supplied  their  employers  with 
minute  particulars  of  the  names,  appearance,  and 
movements  of  the  priests  and  students. 

And  in  fact  Blessed  Everard  had  laboured  but 
three  months  in  the  vineyard  when  he  was  seized,  as 
we  have  seen.  He  had  gone  to  give  alms  and  con 
solation  to  the  prisoners  for  Jesus  Christ ;  and  he 
received  at  once  the  recompense  of  being  made  a 
prisoner  for  Jesus  Christ  himself. 

From  a  paper  in  the  Ambrosian  library  at  Milan, 
consisting  of  extracts  from  the  correspondence  of 
Allen  and  others  in  the  following  month,  we  learn 
that  various  efforts  were  made  to  prevail  on  him  to 
acknowledge  the  Royal  Supremacy,  and  also  that  he 
was  beaten,  and  for  a  long  time  hung  up  by  his 
feet.  This  must  have  been  immediately  after  his 
committal ;  for  the  Newgate  gaol  delivery  took 
place  a  few  days  after  the  holy  priest's  committal, 
and  he  was  accordingly  brought  to  trial  on  Friday, 
July  the  28th,  at  the  Old  Bailey,  before  the  Recorder 
of  London,  Fleetwood,  a  bitter  enemy  of  Catholics. 
As  in  the  case  of  the  Blessed  John  Nelson  and  the 
Blessed  Thomas  Sherwood,  there  was  literally  no 
offence  to  charge  him  with,  for  though  he  had 
declared  himself  a  priest,  the  famous  statute  by 
which  it  was  made  high  treason  for  a  priest 
ordained  abroad  to  be  in  England  was  not  as  yet 
passed.  The  judge  had  therefore  first  to  make  his 
victim  commit  a  capital  offence  before  he  could 
charge  him.  This  did  not,  however,  require  much 
skill,  for  the  martyr  answered  all  his  questions  with 


BLESSED   EVERARD   HANSE  255 


as  much  readiness  and  frankness  as  if  they  were  on 
indifferent  topics  instead  of  involving  his  life. 

The    Recorder   first    asked    him    where    he    was 
ordained  and  for  what  purpose  he  had   come   into 
England.     He   answered   that   he   was   ordained   at 
Rheims  and  that  he  had  come  back  in  order  to  gain 
erring  souls  to  the  unity  of  the  Christian  Church. 
Recorder. — "Then  you  are  subject  to  the  Pope?'' 
Blessed  Evcrard. — "  So  I  am,  Sir." 
Recorder.—"  Then  the  Pope  has  some  authority 
over  you  ?  " 

Blessed  Evcrard. — "  The  most  just  authority." 
Recorder. — "  What !   now  in  England  ?  " 
Blessed   Everard.— "  Most   assuredly.       He    hath 
as  much  authority  and  right  in  spiritual  government 
in  this  realm  as  ever   he   had,  and   as   much   as  he 
hath  in  any  other  country,  or  in  Rome  itself." 

The  judge  now  proceeded  to  extract  from  him 
matter  against  another  statute.  He  was  asked 
whether  he  thought  the  Pope  could  err.  He 
answered  as  any  Catholic  would  answer  now, 
that  in  his  own  life  and  conduct  he  was  liable  to 
error,  or  even  in  his  writings  as  a  private  doctor, 
but  not  in  his  "judicial  definitions  of  controverted 
questions." 

They  were  warily  bringing  him  nearer  to  the 
snare,  —  a  most  needless  ingenuity  —  and  asked 
whether  Pius  V.  had  not  acted  judicially  in  the 
Bull  of  Excommunication  against  the  Queen,  and 
then  reading  out  the  part  in  which  she  is  declared 
to  be  a  heretic  and  a  supporter  of  heretics,  and 
therefore  deprived  of  her  royal  crown  and  dignity, 


256  BLESSED   EVERARD   HANSE 

required  the  prisoner  to  say  if  the  Pope  had  not 
erred  in  this.  He  answered,  "  I  hope  not,"  using 
this  expression  because  the  act  of  the  Pope  was  riot 
a  doctrinal  definition  but  a  question  of  fact  and  of 
discipline. 

This  answer  served  to  bring  him  within  the  reach 
of  the  statute  of  1571,  which  made  it  high  treason 
to  declare  the  Queen  a  heretic  or  schismatic.  But 
Fleetwood  seems  to  have  had  an  artistic  sense  of 
completeness  in  judicial  persecution,  and  went  on 
to  secure  against  his  prisoner  an  accusation  under 
a  new  statute  passed  this  very  year,  1581,  which 
extended  the  ever-widening  embrace  of  high  treason 
to  the  act  (among  many  others)  of  persuading  any 
subject  of  the  Queen  to  leave  the  established  religion 
for 'that  of  the  Catholic  Church.  So  as  a  final 
question  he  asked,  "  Have  you  given  the  answers 
we  have  heard  with  a  design  to  persuade  those 
who  are  present  to  embrace  the  same  opinions?  " 

"I  know  not,"  said  the  open-hearted  priest, 
"  what  you  mean  by  the  word  persuade,  but  I  would 
fain  that  all  believed  the  Catholic  Faith  from  their 
hearts  as  I  do." 

The  offence  had  now  been  obtained,  and  a  lawyer 
in  the  court  was  directed  then  and  there  to  draw  up 
the  indictment,  the  charge  being  to  this  effect :  that 
Everard  Hanse,  a  scholar  of  the  Pope,  and  made 
priest  beyond  the  seas,  had  come  back  into  England 
to  withdraw  the  Queen's  subjects  from  their 
obedience ;  that  he  had  asserted  that  the  Pope  was 
his  Superior,  and  had  in  England  the  same 
authority  as  heretofore ;  and  likewise  that  he  had 


BLESSED  EVERARD  HANSE 


declared  that  he  hoped  Pius  V.  had  not  erred  in 
pronouncing  the  Queen  a  heretic  and  depriving  her 
of  her  kingdom,  and  that  he  had  said  these  things 
to  persuade  others  to  follow  his  opinions. 

The  indictment  having  been  read  out,  the  martyr 
was  ordered  to  hold  up  his  hand,  as  is  usual  when 
pleading,  on  which  the  judge  took  the  opportunity 
to  browbeat  him,  because  his  right  hand  being 
occupied  in  holding  up  his  heavy  chains,  he  had  held 
up  the  left.  When  asked  if  he  was  guilty  of  what 
was  charged  against  him,  he  answered  with  his 
usual  frankness  that  though  the  indictment  was  not 
exact  in  every  particular,  yet  he  quite  acknowledged 
its  substantial  truth.  And  upon  this,  sentence  of 
death  was  pronounced  as  in  cases  of  high  treason. 
Such  was  the  degradation  of  English  justice  under 
Elizabeth,  at  least  where  Catholics  were  concerned. 
Such  a  sentence  would  have  been  iniquitous  and 
illegal,  even  apart  from  the  cruelty  and  injustice  of 
the  statutes  it  professed  to  apply. 

The  account  of  the  martyr's  trial  which  has  been 
given  from  his  Acts  is  briefly  confirmed  by  the 
honest  Stow.  "  Everard  Hanse,"  he  writes,  "a 
seminary  priest,  was  in  the  Sessions  Hall  in  the  Old 
Bailey,  arraigned  ;  where  he  affirmed  that  he  was 
subject  to  the  Pope  in  ecclesiastical  causes,  and  that 
the  Pope  had  now  the  same  authority  here  in 
England  that  he  had  a  hundred  years  past;  with 
other  traitorous  speeches;  for  which  he  was 
condemned  and  executed."1 

1  Stow's  Chronicle.  (1581).       The  heretics  declared    he    was   as 

ish  as  he  was  false  ;  and  that  it  was  impossible  he  could  have 

R 


II. 


258  BLESSED   EVERARD   HANSE 

Blessed  Everard's  martyrdom  was  consummated 
three  days  after  his  sentence,  on  the  3ist  of  July, 
1581,  at  Tyburn,  "about  eight  of  the  clock  in  the 
morning."  On  the  day  before,  he  wrote  from  his 
prison  a  letter  to  his  brother  which  has  happily 
been  preserved.1  It  is  as  follows  : 

"Brother, 

"  I  pray  you  be  careful  for  my  parents  ; 
see  them  instructed  in  the  way  of  truth  ;  so  that 
you  be  careful  for  your  own  state  also.  What  you 
shall  take  in  hand  that  way,  think  no  other  but  that 
God  will  send  good  success.  My  prayers  shall 
not  be  wanting  to  aid  you  by  God's  grace.  Give 
thanks  to  God  for  all  that  He  hath  sent.  Cast  not 
yourself  into  dangers  wilfully,  but  pray  to  God  when 
occasion  is  offered  you  may  take  it  with  patience. 

"The  comforts  at  the  present  instant  are 
unspeakable  ;  the  dignity  too  high  for  a  sinner  ;  but 
God  is  merciful.  Bestow  my  things  you  find 
ungiven  away  upon  my  poor  kinsfolk.  A  pair  of 
pantoffles  I  leave  with  M.  N.  for  my  mother. 
Twenty  shillings  I  would  have  you  bestow  on  them 
from  me,  if  you  can  make  so  much  conveniently  ; 
some  I  have  left  with  M.  N.  I  owe  ten  shillings 
and  two  shillings ;  I  pray  you  see  it  paid;  M.  N. 
will  let  you  understand  how  and  to  whom.  If  you 
want  money  to  discharge  it,  send  to  my  friends,  you 

got  enough  learning  in  two  years  to  be  fit  to  be  ordained  priest, 
which  as  the  writer  of  the  Brief e  Historie  remarks  was  a  strange 
thing  for  them  to  say,  as  they  had  thought  him  learned  enough 
to  be  one  of  their  own  ministers  four  or  five  years  before. 
1  It  is  printed  in  the  Briefe  Historie,    . 


BLESSED   EVERARD  HANSE  25g 

know  where,  in  my  name.  Summa  Conciliorum,  I 
pray  you  restore  to  M.  B[lackwell  ?] ;  the  other 
books  you  know  to  whom. 

"  Have  me  commended  to  my  friends  :  let  them 
think  I  will  not  forget  them.  The  day  and  hour  of  my 
birth  is  at  hand,  and  my  Master  saith  '  Tolle  crucem 
tuam  et  scquere  Me."     Vale  in  Domino. 
"  Yours, 

"  EVERARD  HANSE. 
"Pridie  obitus." 

Beneath  the  gallows  he  appeared  with  the  same 
bright,  frank,  untroubled  manner  which  had  always 
been  the  faithful  expression  of  his  character.  He 
told  the  people  he  was  a  Catholic  priest,  and  was 
most  glad  to  die  in  testimony  of  his  faith.  He  then 
went  on  to  speak  of  the  misrepresentations  which 
had  been  industriously  circulated  of  his  answers 
at  his  trial.  It  had  been  given  out  that  he  main 
tained  that  the  Pope  could  not  sin ;  that  princes 
had  no  sovereignty  of  their  own,  the  Pope  being 
supreme  in  their  realms  even  in  civil  things  :  and 
that  treason  to  the  Queen  was  no  sin  before  God. 
(These  calumnies  were  even  put  out  in  print.1) 
He  denied  them  in  a  few  words,  and  protested  that 
he  had  never  said  or  meant  anything  except  that 

See  Appendix  for  an  account  of  this  pamphlet.  The  martyr 
cannot  have  mentioned  the  fact  of  these  calumnies  being  printed,  as 
they  did  not  appear  till  after  his  death.  The  sentence  I  have  put 
in  parenthesis  is  evidently  an  addition  of  the  writers  of  the  Acts. 
Father  Persons  (De  Persecution  Anglicana,  ap.  Concertatio,  fol.  31  B> 
indignantly  relates  how  Crowley,  the  minister,  had  twisted  and 
misinterpreted  the  martyr's  words. 


260  BLESSED   EVERARD   HANSE 


the  various  so-called  treasons,  which  were  nothing 
but  the  confession  of  the  Catholic  Faith,  were  no 
offences  against  God.  When  asked  whether  he 
acknowledged  the  Queen  for  his  Sovereign,  he 
answered  that  he  did  acknowledge  her  as  his 
Queen,  and  that  he  had  never  offended  her 
Majesty  otherwise  than  in  matters  of  his  con 
science,  which  their  new-made  statutes  had  made 
matters  of  treason. 

The  ministers  asked  him  to   pray  with  them,  but 
he  answered  that  it  was  not  lawful  for  him  to  pray 
with  heretics  ;    but  he  humbly  begged  all  Catholics 
to   pray  for  him   and  with   him.     He  was   praying 
earnestly  when  the  cart  was  drawn  from  under  him. 
About  a  month  later  the  account  of  his  martyrdom 
reached  the  Seminary,  and  is  recorded  in  the  Diary.1 
"  For  a  moment  or  two,  scarcely  to  be  counted,  he 
was  left  hanging,  and  then  alive  and  fully  conscious," 
the  other  cruelties  were  inflicted  ;   "  when  his  bowels 
had  been   torn  out  and   his   heart,  still  palpitating, 
was  in  the  hand   of  the   executioner,  he   is   said   to 
have    pronounced    the    words :     '  O    happy    day ! 
Moreover,     the     concurrent    testimony    of    several 
witnesses  has  come  to  us  that  when  his  heart  was 
thrown  into  the  fire,  it  leaped  up  out  of  the   flames 
with  great  violence,  and  being  again  flung  in  and 
covered   with   a  faggot  of  wood,  a  second  time   it 
leaped  up  with   such  force   as  to  lift  the  faggot  out 
of  its  place  and  hold  it  for  a  time  quivering  in  the 
smoke."    "As  if,"  adds  the  writer  of  his  Acts,  "God 
would    manifest   the  victorious    constancy   of    His 

1  Douay  Diaries  (Diarium  Secundum),  August  27,  1581. 


BLESSED  EVERARD   HANSE  261 

martyr  by  the   miraculous   impetuous  movement  of 
his  heart."1 

"  Two  nights  after,"  writes  Mendozato  Philip  II., 
"  there  was  not  a  particle  of  earth  which  his  blood 
had  stained  that  had  not  been  carried  off  as  a  relic, 
and  infinite  sums  were  given  for  his  shirt  and  other 
clothes."  Thus  was  God  glorified  in  His  saints. 

E.  S.  K. 


AUTHORITIES. — Brief c  Historic,  p.  140.  Concertatio,  fol.  78  A 
—79  B.  Yepes,  pp.  356—360.  Champney,  p.  756.  Challoner, 
i.  pp.  25—28. 

RELICS. — The  only  relic  remaining  of  Blessed  Everard 
Hanse  seems  to  be  a  little  piece  of  linen  stained  with  his 
blood,  which  is  preserved  in  the  private  chapel  of  the 
Archbishop  of  Westminster. 

At  St.  Scholastica's  Abbey,  Teignrnouth,  is  preserved 
a  dried  heart,  which  the  immemorial  tradition  of  the  com 
munity  describes  as  "  the  heart  of  an  English  Martyr  which 
leaped  out  of  the  fire."  It  may  very  possibly  be  that  of 
Blessed  Everard  Hanse. 


APPENDIX. 

There    is    a    pamphlet    in    the    British    Museum 
entitled    *"  A    true  report,   of  the   A  \  raignement   and 
execution   \   of    the    late    Popishc    Traitour,  \   Euerard 
Haunce,    executed    at    Ty  \  borne,  with    reformation    of 
the  |  errors  of  a  former    u  \  ntrue  \  booke   published  \ 
cocerning    the  \  same.       Printed     at     London,     by  | 
Henrie  Bynneman,  |  Anno  1581. 

This    work     professes    to     correct    the    "  untrue 

1  Raissius,  Catalogus  Christi  Sacerdotum,  pp.  14,  15. 


262  BLESSED   EVERARD   HANSE 


reportes,"  of  "a  pamphlet  lately  published  as 
gathered  by  MS.,  and  printed  by  Charlewoode 
and  White,  touching  ...  a  wilfull  and  obstinate 
traitor  named  Everard  Ducket  alias  Haunce,"  &c. 

We  glean  some  facts  from  this  scurrilous  libel 
(which  is  said  to  be  the  work  of  Anthony  Munday), 
e.g.,  the  names  of  the  martyr's  judges.  They  were, 
besides  Recorder  Fleetwood,  Sir  John  Branch,  Lord 
Mayor  ;  Sir  Owen  Hopton,  Lieutenant  of  the  Tower; 
Sir  William  Damsell,  Knight ;  Master  Sekford, 
Master  of  Requests  to  her  Majesty,  &c. 

The  indictment  was  framed  "  with  the  advice  of 
a  learned  Councillor,  Master  James  Dalton,  one  of 
the  Council  of  the  City  and  of  her  Majesty's  Com 
mission  there."  It  ran  thus  : 

"That  Everard  Haunce,  late  of  London,  clerk, 
otherwise  called  Everard  Ducket,  late  of  London, 
clerk,  the  xxviii  day  of  July,  in  the  year  of  the  reign 
of  our  Sovereign  Lady  Elizabeth,  by  the  grace  of 
God  of  England,  France,  and  Ireland,  Queen, 
defender  of  the  Faith,  &c.  At  London,  that  is  to 
say,  in  the  Parish  of  St.  Sepulchre,  in  the  ward  of 
Faringdon  Without  of  London  aforesaid,  maliciously 
intending  to  withdraw  the  subjects  of  our  said 
Sovereign  Lady  the  Queen  from  their  natural 
obedience  toward  our  said  Sovereign  Lady  the 
Queen,  and  from  the  religion  by  her  Majesty's 
authority  within  her  dominions  established,  to  the 
Romish  religion,  in  full  and  open  sessions  then 
and  there  holden,  before  the  Justices  of  our  said 
Sovereign  Lady  the  Queen  of  gaol  delivery  of  her 


BLESSED   EVERARD   HANSE  263 

gaol  of  Newgate  of  London  aforesaid,  then  and 
there  judicially  sitting,  did  say  and  utter  these  false 
malicious  and  slanderous  words,  that  is  to  say, 
that  he  (meaning  himself),  the  said  Everard,  being 
in  England,  is  subject  to  the  Pope  in  ecclesiastical 
things.  And  that  the  Pope  hath  now  the  same 
authority  here  of  England  over  the  Church  that  he 
had  a  hundred  years  past,  and  which  he  now  hath 
at  Rome.  And  that  the  Pope  hath  the  Holy  Spirit 
of  God  given  unto  him  and  cannot  err.  And  that 
the  Pope  in  publishing  that  he  hath  authority  to 
depose  kings  and  princes, hath  delivered  true  doctrine. 
And  where  the  Pope  by  his  sentence  hath  declared 
the  Queen  (meaning  our  said  Sovereign  Lady  the 
Queen)  an  heretic,  and  deprived  her  of  her  crown  of 
this  realm  of  England  and  her  subjects  discharged 
of  their  allegiance,  he  hopeth  that  the  Pope  therein 
hath  not  erred.  And  that  he  (meaning  himself,  the 
said  Everard)  is  a  priest,  and  so  made  at  Rheims 
beyond  the  seas,  and  that  he  came  over  to  win  souls, 
and  wished  the  Queen's  subjects  to  believe  him  in 
all  these  things.  And  that,  that  which  he  hath  spoken 
before,  he  spake  it  with  purpose  and  to  that  intent 
that  the  Queen's  subjects  should  believe  him  and  be 
of  the  same  opinion. 

"  And  further  that  the  said  Everard,  by  the  words 
aforesaid,  by  him  uttered  maliciously  and  traitor 
ously,  then  and  there  did  put  in  practice  to  withdraw 
the  subjects  of  our  said  Sovereign  Lady  the  Queen 
from  the  religion  now  by  her  Majesty's  authority 
established  within  her  dominions,  to  the  Romish 
religion,  with  intent  to  withdraw  the  same  subjects 


264  BLESSED   EVERARD   HANSE 

of  our  said  Sovereign  Lady  the  Queen  from  their 
natural  obedience  to  our  said  Lady  the  Queen, 
against  the  peace  of  our  said  Lady  the  Queen,  her 
crown  and  dignity,  and  against  the  form  of  the 
statute  in  such  case  lately  made  and  provided." 

The  foreman  of  the  jury  was  one  Anthony  Hall. 
The  only  witness  was  the  councillor  who  drew  up 
the  indictment.  The  jury  very  quickly  returned 
their  verdict,  whereupon  the  Recorder  and  Master 
Sekford  made  learned  speeches  against  the  Papal 
authority,  and  the  Recorder  passed  sentence  of 
death. 

The  martyr  having  been  sent  back  to  Newgate, 
a  minister  named  Crowley,  "a  grave  preacher,"  was 
sent  to  him  by  the  Bench,  but  he  soon  returned, 
saying  he  could  make  nothing  of  the  prisoner,  who 
was  unwilling  to  listen  to  him,  and  further,  produced 
a  paper  signed  by  himself  and  fifteen  others,  in  which 
he  declared  that  the  martyr  had  said,  "  amongst 
other  traitorous  blasphemies,  these  words  following  : 
Treason  against  the  Prince  is  no  sin  against  God." 

This  was  the  calumny  which  the  martyr  protested 
against  at  his  death.  It  is  easy  to  see  how  perfectly 
innocent  words  might  be  perverted  in  this  way. 
The  martyr  was  condemned  for  treason  against  the 
Prince — "Yes,"  he  may  have  said,  "but  my  so- 
called  treason  is  no  offence  against  God."  And  this 
is  what  actually  passed,  according  to  Father  Persons. 
In  any  case,  the  "  godly  minister  "  having  devised  this 
calumny,  urged  on  the  strength  of  it  that  the  martyr 
should  be  executed  the  very  next  day,  lest  the 


BLESSED   EVERARD   HANSE  265 

Papists  should  get  access  to  him  before  his  death, 
and  the  truth  being  divulged,  he  might  have  an 
opportunity  of  refuting  the  lie  at  his  execution. 
The  writer  adds  that  unfortunately  this  advice  was 
not  taken,  so  that  Hanse  took  occasion  "  to  qualify 
his  speech  touching  treason  against  the  Queen  to  be 
no  sin."  The  execution  was  delayed,  "not  for  any 
hope  of  doing  good  with  him,  which  was  of  all  men 
holden  desperate,"  but  in  order  to  know  the  pleasure 
of  her  Majesty's  Council,  who  might  order  him  to 
be  further  examined. 

His  death  is  thus  described.  "  And  so  continu 
ing  in  the  obstinate  profession  of  his  false  Romish 
faith,  and  requiring  the  prayers  of  those  of  his  sect, 
and  refusing  all  other  intercession  to  God  for  him, 
he  suffered  due  pains  of  death  and  execution,  as  in 
cases  of  high  treason  is  due  and  accustomed  by  the 
laws  of  this  realm,  to  the  great  dread  of  God's  judg 
ments  to  himself,  a  terrible  example  to  others." 

We  fools  esteemed  their  life  madness  and  their  end 
without  honour.  Behold  how  they  are  numbered  among 
the  children  of  God,  and  their  lot  is  among  the  saints.1 

ED. 


Wisdom  v.  4,  5. 


THE   BLESSED   EDMUND   CAMPION, 

JESUIT. 

Tyburn,  i  December,  1581. 

ON  the  3rd  of  August,  1553,  the  good  citizens 
of  London  were  gladdened  by  the  sight  of  a 
brilliant  state  pageant,  the  solemn  entry  of  the  first 
Queen  Regnant  of  England,  Mary  Tudor,  through 
Aldgate,  which  was  festooned  and  draped  with 
banners,  while  the  whole  route  was  lined  by  the 
various  crafts  in  their  gayest  attire.  First  came  the 
Lords  three  and  three,  with  their  knights  and 
gentlemen  ;  the  foreign  Ambassadors,  each  with  a 
retinue  of  his  own  countrymen  ;  the  officers  of  the 
household ;  the  Lord  Mayor,  Sir  Thomas  White ; 
the  Earl  of  Arundel,  bearing  the  sword  of  state  ;  the 
ladies  of  the  household,  and  then  her  Majesty  in  "  a 
long-sleeved  robe  of  crimson  velvet,  embroidered  with 
pearls,"  mounted  on  a  white  palfrey  whose  harness 
was  fringed  with  gold.  Following  the  Queen  came 
her  sister,  the  Princess  Elizabeth,  and  one  hundred 
and  sixty  other  noble  dames  according  to  prece 
dence,  the  Queen's  horse,  eight  thousand  strong,  and 
the  Aldermen,  while  the  city  guard  with  bows  and 


BLESSED   EDMUND   CAMPION 


267 


javelins  brought  up  the  rear.  From  the  roofs  and 
windows  eager  and  loyal  spectators  shouted  "  God 
save  Queen  Mary."  Minute  guns  were  hred  from 
the  Tower,  and  at  various  points  choirs  of  school 
children  sang  the  praises  of  the  Sovereign.  The 
triumph  was  not  an  empty  show.  The  rule  of 
violence  under  Henry  and  Edward  was  over,  the 
revolution  in  what  most  Englishmen  still  held  to  be 
sacred  seemed  to  have  spent  itself.  The  old  order 
was  once  more  triumphant. 

Opposite  St.  Paul's  the  procession  halted,  and 
a  bluecoat-boy,  thirteen  years  old,  approached  her 
Majesty  to  make,  in  behalf  of  the  London  scholars, 
an  oration  in  her  honour.  The  boy  thus  already 
conspicuous  for  his  learning,  eloquence,  and  modest 
grace  was  Edmund  Campion.  Well  assured  did 
his  youthful  predictions  seem  that  day,  of  the  reign 
of  justice,  mercy,  and  religion,  with  which  England 
was  now  to  be  blessed.  Yet  only  twenty-eight 
years  later,  from  the  same  Tower  which  Mary  now 
entered  in  triumph  the  Blessed  Edmund  was  to 
be  led  out  as  a  traitor  and  felon,  to  receive  the 
martyr's  crown. 

The  year  in  which  this  boy  was  born  was  marked 
by  great  events,  which  both  for  good  and  evil  were 
to  exercise  a  dominant  influence  over  his  life.  Father 
Robert  Persons,  his  companion  in  later  years  and 
his  first  biographer,  thus  writes  of  them  : 

"  His  birth  happened  [on  January  the  25th] 
in  about  the  year  of  God  1540,  and  the  thirtieth 
of  King  Henry  VIII.,  which  was  the  year  wherein 


268  BLESSED  EDMUND   CAMPION 

the  said  King  pulled  down  and  destroyed  the  greatest 
religious  houses  in  England  and  persecuted  most 
violently  the  Catholic  faith,  for  defence  whereof 
Father  Campion  was  afterwards  by  God's  holy 
providence  to  shed  his  blood ;  as  it  was  also  the 
year  wherein  the  Religious  Order,  the  Society  of 
Jesus,  was  founded  and  confirmed  in  Rome  by  the 
See  Apostolic,  of  which  Order  the  said  Father  was 
to  be  so  worthy  a  member,  as  afterwards  he  proved. 
And  by  this  account  it  falleth  out  in  like  manner  that 
when  Father  Campion  so  freely  and  willingly 
offered  himself  to  suffer  death  for  the  Catholic 
religion,  in  his  own  native  country  and  city,  he  was 
in  the  very  flower  of  his  age,  to  wit,  between  one  or 
two  and  forty  years  old,  which  is  a  remarkable 
circumstance,  both  for  merit  before  God  and  honour 
in  the  sight  of  man." 

His  father,  by  name  also  Edmund,  was  a  citizen 
and  bookseller  of  London.  His  parents  were 
Catholics,  not  only  at  the  time  of  Edmund's  birth, 
but  also  during  the  reign  of  Mary,  though  afterwards 
they  would  seem  to  have  yielded  to  the  times.  The 
martyr  could  only  hope  that  they  died  in  the  Faith. 
The  family  consisted  of  three  boys  and  one  girl.  Of 
the  boys  Edmund  and  another  took  to  learning,  the 
third  to  military  service. 

When  Edmund  was  about  nine  or  ten  years  of 
age  his  parents  wished  to  apprentice  him  to  a 
merchant,  but  a  member  of  the  Grocers'  Company, 
seeing  his  sharp  and  pregnant  wit,  induced  the  guild 
to  undertake  the  boy's  education,  and  he  was  sent 


BLESSED  EDMUND   CAMPION  269 


first  to  a  preparatory  school,  and  then  to  Christ- 
church,  Newgate,  founded  by  Edward  VI.  out  of 
confiscated  Church  property,  as  a  salve  to  the 
conscience  of  the  people.  Young  Campion  carried 
off  prize  after  prize,  not  only  in  his  school,  but  in  the 
general  competition  which  was  held  between  the 
various  Grammar  Schools  of  London.  When,  there 
fore,  he  was  still  a  boy,  probably  in  1555,  the  Grocers' 
Company  had  no  scruple  in  applying  to  Sir  Thomas 
White,  already  mentioned,  to  give  Campion  a 
scholarship  in  his  new  foundation  of  St.  John's 
College,  Oxford.  With  this  Sir  Thomas  most 
willingly  complied  "  after  he  was  informed  of  the 
youth's  rare  towardliness  in  learning  and  virtue." 
The  Company  further  gave  him  an  exhibition  for  his 
maintenance. 

1°  X557  Campion,  though  only  seventeen  years 
of  age,  was  already  famous  for  his  eloquence  and 
his  various  gifts,  and  the  charm  of  his  character  had 
so  endeared  him  to  Sir  Thomas  that  he  made  him 
Junior  Fellow  of  his  College.  Sir  Thomas  was  a 
staunch  Catholic.  His  firmness  and  loyalty  in  the 
Wyatt  rising  had  done  much  to  secure  Mary  her 
throne,  and  he  had  founded  the  College  of  St.  John 
as  a  place  of  safety  for  Catholics  in  the  great  English 
heresy.  His  endowments  were,  however,  too  soon 
turned  to  other  purposes.  Anglicanism  was  pro 
claimed  the  only  legal  religion  of  the  land.  The 
enforcement  of  the  law  was  of  course  a  work  of 
time,  but  the  Royal  Commissioners,  on  whom  the 
task  was  laid,  did  their  work  skilfully.  In  1559  or 
1560,  by  their  order,  the  Catholic  President  of 


27o  BLESSED  EDMUND    CAMPION 

St.  John's,  Dr.  Alexander  Belsize,  on  account  of  his 
religion  was  deprived  of  his  office,  and  all  the 
crucifixes,  vestments,  and  holy  vessels  given  to  the 
chapel  by  Sir  Thomas  White  were  taken  away. 
The  oath  of  the  Queen's  spiritual  supremacy  was 
not,  however,  generally  tendered  to  the  members 
of  the  University.  It  was  considered  more  prudent 
not  to  drive  men  to  extremities,  but  to  be  content 
with  their  external  acquiescence  in  the  new  order 
of  things. 

Five  years  elapsed  without  any  formal  test  being 
demanded  of  Campion,  but  during  this  period 
he  was  exposed  to  influences  which  tended  to 
weaken  the  strength  of  his  convictions.  A  number 
of  admiring  friends,  a  large  circle  of  disciples, 
"  Campionists  "  as  much  because  of  their  love  for 
the  man  as  for  their  admiration  of  his  scholarship 
and  of  his  eloquence,  gathered  round  him.  This 
tended  to  deaden  the  voice  of  conscience,  and  to 
persuade  him  that  as  a  humanist  and  a  layman  he 
need  not  trouble  himself  with  vexed  questions  of 
theology,  or  with  disputes  on  the  Pope's  Supremacy. 
His  obligations  to  his  college  and  to  his  pulpit  were 
clear,  the  rest  but  doubtful,  and  so  in  the  year  1564 
he  took  the  oath,  and  acknowledged  the  spiritual 
headship  of  the  Queen.  Thus  gradually  was  the 
great  change  effected  in  Campion's  surroundings. 
Though  he  remained  a  Catholic  at  heart,  he  had 
given  up  the  practice  of  his  religion,  and  had,  at 
least  externally,  admitted  the  determining  principle 
of  the  English  Reformation. 

Campion's  position    in    the    University  and    his 


BLESSED   EDMUND   CAMPION  271 

pre-eminence  as  a  speaker  may  be  appreciated   by 
some  account  of  his  chief  oratorical  displays.     The 
first    was    at    the    reburial    of    poor    Amy   Robsart, 
when  her  body,  under  pressure  of  public  opinion,  was 
removed    from   Cumnor  to   Oxford    for    honourable 
sepulture.     The  next  was  a  panegyric,  composed  in 
idiomatic  and  eloquent  Latin,  on  Sir  Thomas  White. 
Campion  enumerates  his  charities,  the  thirty  towns 
which  he  had  enriched,  the  foundation  of  Merchant 
Taylors'  School,  the  restoration  of  Gloucester  Hall, 
and  the   foundation  of  St.  John's   College.     "This 
he    had    founded    when    literature    was    enslaved, 
imprisoned,  in   poverty,   in   despair,  half  dead   with 
sorrow,    washed  out   with   tears ;   he   has   beaten  all 
of   us    students,    with    our    holy    ways,    our    sacred 
teaching,  our   pious  talk,  and   our   sacrilegious  life. 
In    this    man's    tongue,    manner,    gait,    there    was 
nothing  polished,   dressed   up,   painted,   affected   or 
false,  all  was  open,  pure,  sincere,  chaste,  undefiled. 
He  begged  that  we  would  not  pray  for  his  recovery, 
but  for  faith  and  patience  in   his  last  moments,  and 
nothing    annoyed     him    so    much    as    wishes    for   a 
renewal  of  health." 

His  next  rhetorical  triumph  was  prompted  by  an 
event  of  a  very  different  character — the  state  visit 
of  Queen  Elizabeth  to  Oxford  in  1566,  after  she  had 
witnessed  the  pageants  at  Kenilworth.  Thirteen 
years  before,  Campion  had  welcomed  Queen  Mary  to 
London.  He  was  now  to  greet  with  all  the  fire 
of  his  eloquence  the  entry  of  her  sister  to  the 
University.  Sir  William  Cecil  and  the  Queen's 
advisers  were  careful  to  prohibit  the  introduction 


272  BLESSED   EDMUND   CAMPION 

of  any  dangerous  or  theological  matter.     Campion 
was  to  discourse  on  "the  effect  of  the  moon  upon 
the  tides,"  and  of  the  "higher  and  lower  heavenly 
bodies."       On    the    3rd    of    September,    1573,    he 
defended    his    thesis    before    the    Queen    and    her 
favourite,   Lord   Robert   Dudley,  the   Chancellor   of 
the   University,  over   whose  victim,   Amy   Robsart, 
he  had,  as  we  have   said,  but  six   years  previously, 
delivered    a    funeral    oration.    His    academic    oppo 
nent    was    a    dear    friend,    Richard    Bristow,    who 
afterwards  became  a  Catholic,  one  of  the  founders 
of  Douay  College,  and  the  author  of  the  celebrated 
Motives.     In  his  preamble  Campion  declares  himself 
only  reconciled  to  his  unequal  contest  against  "four 
pugnacious    youths,    by    the    thought    that    he    is 
speaking  in  the  name   of  Philosophy,  the   princess 
of    letters,    before    Elizabeth,    a    lettered    Princess, 
whose    blessed    ancestors    were    adepts    in    science, 
who    set    her   the    example    of    visiting    the    poor 
scholars."     Then    he    addresses    "the    magnificent 
Chancellor,  whose  godly  and  deathless  benefactions 
to  the  University  he   could   not   deny   if  he  would, 
and  ought  not  to  conceal  if  he  could."     Campion's 
compliments    and    eloquence   went    home,   and   the 
dispute    concluded,    the    Queen     specially    recom 
mended  him  to  Dudley,  who  willingly  undertook  to 
further    the    orator's    career.       Himself    the    secret 
friend    of    Papists,    till    policy    persuaded    him    to 
embrace    the    Puritan    cause,     Leicester    sent    for 
Campion,   and    bade    him    ask  what   he  would,   as 
the    Queen    and    himself    would    provide    for    his 
future.    Campion  modestly   replied  that  the  friend- 


BLESSED   EDMUND   CAMPION  273 

ship    of  the   Chancellor  was   worth   more   than   all 
gifts. 

Four  years  later,  however,  in  dedicating  to  him 
his  History   of  Ireland,    he    gratefully   acknowledges 
the   kindness   he    had    received    from    the   Earl    of 
Leicester,    as    Dudley    was    now    called.       "  How 
often,"    he    says,   "at     Oxford,    how    often    at    the 
Court,    how   often    at    Rycot,   and    at    Windsor,    by 
letters,  and   by  reports,  have  you  not  furthered  with 
your  advice,  and  countenance,  with  your  authority, 
my  hopes  and    expectations,   mere  student  though 
I  was."     Campion  has  never  known  Leicester,  with 
all   his  power,  harm   any  man,  or  enrich   himself  at 
other's    cost,    or    act    from     any    unworthy    motive. 
Such  in  substance  is  Campion's  opinion  of  Leicester. 
It  may  seem  surprising  that  he  should  think  so  well 
of  a  man  whom  we  now  know  to  have  been  worth 
less,  and  on  many  occasions  wicked.    But  Campion's 
mind  was  naturally  deferential,  one  that  thinks  no 
evil  of  those  placed  in  exalted  positions.     He  lived 
amongst    Dudley's    friends,    who    would    not     have 
talked   about   his   misdeeds,  while  they  would  have 
insisted  upon  the  evidence  for  the  better  side  of  his 
character.     And  again  this  would  have  been  thrown 
into  relief  from  being  ignored   or  decried  by  rivals 
no  better  than  he. 

But  to  return  to  Campion's  oratorical  displays 
at  Oxford.  Father  Persons  thus  describes  the  sequel 
to  the  disputation  last  mentioned. 

'*  When  by  chance  one  day  the  Ambassador  of 
Spain,  then  resident  with  the  Queen,  accompanying 


ii. 


274  BLESSED   EDMUND   CAMPION 

her  in  this  her  progress,  whose  name  was  Don 
Diego  de  Guzman,  Canon  of  Toledo,  was  asked  by 
the  said  Queen  and  her  Council  how  he  liked  the 
exercises  of  learning  which  he  had  heard  in  that 
University  of  Oxford,  he  answered  :  '  Very  well,'  but 
that  he  marvelled  not  thereat  considering  the  variety 
of  good  wits  and  talents  which  then  were  discovered, 
and  presupposing  (as  he  did)  that  such,  as  had  done 
any  exercise  before  her  Majesty,  did  come  very  well 
prepared  before  for  the  same  ;  wherefore  he  desired 
to  hear  somewhat  done  extempore  and  without 
preparation. 

"  Whereupon  certain  chosen  men  were  called 
presently  to  Martin  College,  there  to  dispute  upon 
the  sudden,  and  upon  the  questions  and  themes  that 
the  said  Ambassador  should  propose  unto  them. 

"  And  so  they  did,  there  being  present  with  the 
Ambassador,  the  Earl  of  Leicester,  Sir  William 
Cecil,  then  Secretary  but  afterwards  Great  Treasurer 
of  England,  and  one  of  the  chief  persecutors  of 
Father  Campion.  There  were  also  divers  others 
of  the  Council  and  the  nobility  of  England  present, 
together  with  learned  men  of  that  University.  And 
among  others  that  were  called  to  do  this  exercise 
upon  the  sudden,  Mr.  Campion  was  one,  and  he 
that  bare  away  that  day  most  praise  from  that  place 
for  his  excellent  doings,  as  he  also  did  a  little  after 
for  a  certain  rare  oration  that  he  was  forced  to  make 
upon  the  sudden  in  the  Queen's  house  of  Woodstock, 
some  eight  miles  from  Oxford,  before  the  said 
Queen,  in  which  he  confessed  afterward  that  he 
was  like  to  have  lost  himself  utterly  at  the  begin- 


BLESSED  EDMUND  CAMPION  275 


ning,  partly  by  the  hastiness  of  the  time,  and  partly 
by  the  sudden  great  pomp  wherein  the  Queen  came 
forth  to  hear  him,  until  after  a  space  (as  he  was 
wont  to  tell)  he  remembered  that  she  was  but  a 
woman  and  he  a  man,  which  was  the  better  sex,  and 
that  all  that  splendour  and  pomp  that  glittered  in 
his  eyes,  was  but  transitory  vanity  and  had  no 
substance  in  it,  by  which  cogitations  and  other  the 
like  he  was  emboldened  to  go  through  with  his 
speech,  as  he  did  to  the  great  contentation  of  the 
Queen  and  others  of  the  Court,  and  to  his  own 
high  commendation. 

"  Sir  William  Cecil  himself,  then  present  at  these 
exercises,  who  was  afterwards  made  Lord  Treasurer 
of  England,  as  hath  been  said,  and  came  to  be  one 
of  Father  Campion's  judges  for  his  execution  about 
fifteen  years  afterwards,  when  this  servant  of  God 
stood  condemned  to  be  martyred, — this  man,  I  say, 
was  the  chief  and  principal  praiser  of  Mr.  Campion 
at    that    time,    who    with     his    voice    in    Council 
persuaded    his    death,   when    others   of    his   fellow- 
councillors  were  of  contrary  opinion,  which  I  have 
been  told  by  one  that  heard  with  his  own  ears  the 
consultation  about  that  matter,  but  yet  when  he  was 
in  Oxford  he  gave  singular  praises  to  Mr.  Campion 
above  all  the  rest  for  his  rare  learning  and  talents, 
and  invited  him  with  many  hopes  and  promises  to 
follow  that   course.       And   when    about  some   four 
years  after  this   Mr.  Campion  was  departed  out  of 
the  realm   and    gone   over   the   sea   to    Douay,   the 
said    Cecil    said    to    a    certain    especial    friend    of 
Mr.  Campion's,  named  Richard  Stanihurst,  gentle- 


276  BLESSED   EDMUND   CAMPION 


man  of  Ireland,  .  .  .  Cecil,  that  old  fox,  affirmed 
that  it  was  very  great  pity  to  see  so  notable  a  man 
as  Campion  was  to  leave  his  country,  for  that  indeed 
(said  he)  he  was  one  of  the  diamonds  of  England." 

With  all  this  success,  Campion's  mind  was  not 
at  rest.  Persons,  who  had  been  through  similar 
mental  struggles,  writes  of  them  as  follows. 

"The    good    man    had    a    wonderful    fight    and 

combat    with     himself  what    to    resolve    and   what 

course  it  were  best  for  him  to   follow.     For  on  the 

one   side  there   spurred   him   forward  to   follow  the 

world    all    those   flattering  hopes    and    allurements 

which  before  I  have  signified,  together  with  youth, 

ambition,   desire   to   satisfy  the   expectation   of   his 

friends,  and  emulation  to  see  others  of   his  equals 

and  inferiors  to  pass  on  and   be  advanced  :  but  on 

the  other   side    held    him    back    and    terrified    him 

greatly,  his  judgment,  the  remorse  of  his  conscience, 

fear  of  death,  Hell,  and  the  like,  for  that  he   could 

not   persuade   his   own   understanding  but  that  the 

Catholic  religion  only  was  true,   and   consequently 

that  all  the  doctrine,  life,  and  whole  course  of  the 

Protestants   was   false   and   damnable,   and    yet    he 

desired  to  follow  it  for  a  time.  So  as  on  the  one  side 

was  his  will  and  affection,  or  at  leastwise  a  most 

vehement    inclination    of    ambition    to    follow    the 

Protestants,  and  on  the  other  side  was  his  judgment 

and   conscience,  which   caused   a   most   strong   and 

dangerous  combat  within  himself  for  a  good  time, 

and  what  to  resolve  he  knew  not,  and  so  much  the 


BLESSED   EDMUND   CAMPION  277 

less  for  that  he  wanted  all  or  most  of  those  helps 
which  the  Catholic  Church  is  wont  to  assign  for 
men  to  fly  unto  in  such  like  cases  of  doubtful 
deliberations  concerning  the  soul,  to  wit,  the  holy 
sacraments  and  the  spiritual  counsels  of  a  good 
ghostly  father,  or  of  some  other  godly  learned  man. 
Yet  did  Mr.  Campion  heartily  by  prayer  commend 
himself  to  Almighty  God,  but  still  hearkened  to 
both  parts  inwardly  to  see  whether  he  could  hear 
or  rind  any  sufficient  reasons  to  satisfy  his  judgment, 
and  to  appease  his  mind  to  follow  that  which  love 
of  the  world  for  the  present  did  invite  him  unto." 

In  1564,  having  completed  his  studies  of  Aristotle 
and  natural  theology,  he  was  compelled  by  the 
statutes  of  his  College  to  take  up  the  Fathers,  and 
then  Catholicism  stared  him  in  the  face.  Let  us 
hear  his  friend  Persons  again. 

"  One  thing  there  was  among  all  the  rest  that 
did  greatly  hold  his  deliberation  in  suspense,  which 
was  the  reading  of  the  works  of  certain  ancient 
Fathers  of  the  primitive  Church  ;  for  that  whatso 
ever  one  of  us  had  heard  or  conceived  in  the  whole 
day  for  pulling  out  of  the  thorn  of  conscience,  or 
for  smoothing  the  way  to  be  Protestant,  either  by 
good-fellowship  and  conversation  with  Protestants 
themselves,  or  by  hearing  their  sermons,  or  reading 
their  books  or  the  like,  all  this  was  dashed  soon 
after  again  by  one  hour's  reading  of  some  book  or 
treatise  of  the  old  holy  Doctors,  and  the  wound  of 
our  conscience  was  made  again  so  green  and  grievous 


278  BLESSED  EDMUND   CAMPION 

as  ever  before  by  that  which  in  every  leaf  and  page 
almost  we  should  find  to  be  spoken  by  those  holy 
men,  either  of  virtue  or  austerity  of  life,  or  of 
questions  and  matters  of  controversies,  and  that  so 
directly  for  the  Catholic  religion,  and  most  perspicu 
ously  against  all  that  the  Protestants  did  either 
teach  or  practise,  as  if  these  ancient  Fathers  had 
lived  and  seen  their  dealings,  and  had  been  their 
open  adversaries  in  these  our  days." 

Still  the  hour  of  grace  had  not  struck.  If  long 
formed  convictions,  the  voice  of  conscience,  the 
testimony  of  Holy  Scripture  and  tradition  all  called 
him  to  abjure  the  Queen's  new  religion  "the  sugared 
words  of  great  folk,  the  pregnant  hopes  of  speedy 
and  great  preferment,"  bade  him  linger,  for  a  while 
at  least,  where  he  was.  At  this  crisis  too  he  had 
found  a  friend,  who  supplied  him  with  what  pro 
fessed  to  be  a  conscientious  motive  for  not  making 
the  dreaded  sacrifice.  This  was  Richard  Cheney, 
Bishop  of  Gloucester.  Alone  of  the  Elizabethan 
hierarchy,  he  detested  in  his  heart  the  doctrines  of 
the  Establishment,  but  had  persuaded  himself  that 
he  might  lawfully  adhere  to  it  externally,  if  in  his 
heart  he  held  and  promulgated  as  far  as  possible 
the  teaching  of  the  primitive  Church.  To  this  course 
also  he  persuaded  Campion,  and  prevailed  on  him 
in  spite  of  his  reluctance  to  be  ordained  deacon,  so 
as  to  be  able  to  preach  and  carry  on  Cheney's 
work.  No  sooner,  however,  was  the  step  taken 
than  Campion's  conscience  stung  him  anew  and  he 
loathed  the  heretical  Orders  he  had  received. 


BLESSED   EDMUND   CAMPION  279 

In  1568,  matters  were  brought  to  a  crisis.     The 
Grocers'  Company,  whose  exhibition  he  still  held, 
suspecting  him   of   secret   Popery,   summoned   him 
under  pain  of  losing  his  scholarship  to  prove   his 
orthodoxy  by  preaching  at  Paul's  Cross.     Campion, 
who  was  then  Proctor,  obtained  a  temporary  post 
ponement,  and  after  further  correspondence,  in  which 
the  demands  of  the  Company  were  explicitly  formu 
lated,  he  resigned  his  exhibition.    At  this  same  time, 
1569,   when    his    hold    on    Oxford    was    being   thus 
loosened,    he    was    receiving    letters    from    his   old 
college    friend,    Gregory     Martin,    calling    him    to 
Rome.     Martin  was  a  man  of  mark,  ''the  Hebraist, 
the    Grecian,    the    poet,   the    honour    and    glory   of 
St.  John's."      He  had  been  tutor  to  the  Venerable 
Philip  Howard,   but   in   this  year,  when   the   Duke 
of  Norfolk  and   his  household,   on   account   of   his 
connection  with   Mary  Queen  of  Scots,  were  sum 
moned    to    attend    Common    Prayer   and    sermons, 
Martin  fled  abroad  and  became  a  Catholic.     Before 
he  left,  however,  he  wrote  to  Campion  warning  him 
against  the  perils  of  ambition,  offering  him  a  home, 
and  reminding  him  "  that  if  their  money  failed  one 
thing  was  left — Qui  seminant  in  lacrimis,  in  exultations 
metent — '  They  that  sow  in  tears  shall  reap  in  joy.'  " 
Thus  urged  alike   by  conscience  within  and   by 
hostile  pressure  without,  Campion  finally  left  Oxford 
at  the  completion  of  his  Proctorship,  on  the  ist  of 
August,  1569. 

From  Oxford,  Campion  turned  his  steps  towards 
Dublin,  where  a  project  was  on  foot  for  rebuilding  the 
old  University  founded  by  Pope  John  XXL,  which 


28o  BLESSED   EDMUND   CAMPION 

had  perished  with  the  suppression  of  the  monasteries. 
The  chief  promoters  of  the  undertaking  were  James 
Stanihurst,  Recorder  of  Dublin,  Speaker  of  the  House 
of  Commons,  the  father  of  Richard,  Campion's  pupil, 
and  a  zealous  Catholic,  and  Sir  Henry  Sidney,  the 
Lord  Deputy,  with  whom  also  Campion  was  on 
terms  of  intimacy.  But  the  Protestant  opposition 
was  too  strong.  The  work  lapsed  into  the  hands  of 
Elizabeth,  who  founded  Trinity  College  twenty-five 
years  later. 

The  University  scheme  having  failed,  Campion, 
who  was  in  March,  1571,  the  guest  of  Stanihurst, 
devoted  some  ten  weeks  to  compiling  a  short  history 
of  Ireland.  As  a  specimen  of  his  style  a  short 
quotation  may  be  interesting.  It  must  be  remem 
bered  that  all  the  other  writings  of  the  martyr 
which  we  shall  have  occasion  to  cite  were  written 
in  Latin.  This  is  his  description  of  the  country. 

"The  soil  is  low  and  waterish,  and  includeth 
divers  little  islands  environed  with  bogs  and 
marishes  :  highest  hills  have  standing  pools  in 
their  top.  The  air  is  wholesome,  not  altogether  so 
clear  and  subtle  as  ours  of  England.  Of  bees  good 
store,  turf  and  sea  coal  is  their  most  fuel.  It  is 
stored  of  kine ;  of  excellent  horses  and  hawks ; 
of  fish  and  fowl.  They  are  not  without  wolves,  and 
greyhounds  to  hunt  them,  bigger  of  bone  and  limb 
than  a  colt.  .  .  .  Sheep  few,  and  those  bearing 
coarse  fleeces,  whereof  they  spin  notable  rug 
mantle  [frieze].  .  .  .  Eagles  are  well  known  to  breed 
here.  Horses  they  have  of  pace  easy,  in  running 


BLESSED   EDMUND   CAMPION  281 


wonderful  swift.  Therefore  they  make  them  of  great 
store.  ...  I  heard  it  verified  by  honourable  to 
honourable,  that  a  nobleman  offered  and  was  refused 
for  one  such  horse,  an  hundred  kine,  five  pounds 
lands,  and  an  eyrie  of  hawks  yearly  during  seven 
years.  .  .  .  The  people  are  thus  inclined  :  religious, 
frank,  amorous,  ireful,  sufferable  of  pains  infinite, 
very  glorious,  many  sorcerers,  excellent  horsemen, 
delighted  with  wars,  great  almsgivers,  passing  in 
hospitality." 

Campion  was  delighted  with  his  stay  in  Ireland, 
adopted  its  chief  Saint  as  his  patron,  and  when 
circumstances  made  him  think  of  disguising  himself, 
his  predilection  was  to  adopt  the  semblance  and 
speech  of  an  Irishman,  and  he  is  said  to  have  acted 
the  part  admirably.1 

Before  his  History  was  finished  Campion's  troubles 
thickened.  He  was  now  considered  a  Catholic  by 
all,  and  openly  lived  as  such.  But  the  times  were 
disastrous  for  the  followers  of  the  old  Faith.  The 
rising  in  the  North  had  failed.  The  Bull  of 
St.  Pius  V.  had  been  posted  by  Felton  on  the 
Bishop  of  London's  gates  on  the  feast  of  Corpus 
Christi,  1570.  Elizabeth's  Government  was  resolved 
on  restraining  all  persons  of  note  supposed  to  favour 
the  Catholic  side,  and  to  apprehend  Campion  among 
others.  At  first  he  remained  concealed  in  Stani- 
hurst's  house.  On  March  the  igth  he  was  at 
Turvey,  then  back  again  in  Dublin,  and  a  few  weeks 
later  at  Drogheda. 

1  See   Blessed   Ralph   Sherwin's  letter  of  June  4,  1580,  quoted 
below. 


282  BLESSED   EDMUND   CAMPION 

All  this  time  the  pursuivants  were  at  his  heels, 
but  Campion  remained  ever  brave  and  cheerful,  and 
found  time  to  continue  his  learned  researches,  and 
in  his  hours  of  retirement  to  lay  deeper  foundations 
of  his  spiritual  life.  After  many  shifts  he  finally 
embarked  from  Tredah,  a  port  about  twenty  miles 
from  Dublin,  disguised  under  the  name  of  Mr.  Patrick, 
as  servant  to  Melchior  Hussey,  the  steward  to  the 
Earl  of  Kildare.  On  the  26th  of  May,  1571,  he  was 
present  at  Dr.  Storey's  trial  in  Westminster  Hall, 
and  then  took  ship  to  Douay.  In  mid-Channel  his 
vessel  was  overhauled  by  the  Hare,  an  English 
frigate  cruising  there.  As  Campion  had  no  pass 
port  the  captain  impounded  his  money  and  baggage, 
and  landed  him  as  a  prisoner  at  Dover,  intending 
to  take  him  under  his  own  charge  to  London. 
Campion,  however,  perceived  that  his  captor's  main 
object  was  secured  by  the  appropriation  of  his 
effects,  and  with  the  captain's  tacit  consent,  effected 
his  escape.  Having  obtained  a  fresh  supply  of 
money  from  some  friends  in  Kent,  he  made  his  way 
to  Calais  and  finally  reached  Douay. 

This  noble  College,  the  nursery  of  so  many 
martyrs,  which  had  been  founded  by  Dr.  Allen 
four  years  previously,  as  yet  numbered  only  fifteen 
or  sixteen  members,  among  whom  were  eight  or 
nine  doctors  or  licentiates  in  theology.  The 
students  were  for  the  most  part  converts,  and 
naturally  corresponded  with  their  Protestant  friends 
who  were  at  all  inclined  to  the  Church,  in  the 
hopes  of  effecting  their  conversion.  It  was  thus 
that  Gregory  Martin  had  written  to  Campion  and 


BLESSED   EDMUND   CAMPION  283 

thus  that  Campion  himself  wrote  to  several,  who 
at  his  invitation  left  all  and  followed  him  to 
Douay.  We  still  possess  one  such  letter,  addressed 
to  the  Anglican  Bishop  Cheney,  and  dated  the 
ist  of  November,  1571.  It  is  for  us  the  first- 
fruit  of  his  reconciliation  to  the  Church.  We  do 
not  know  the  exact  date  of  that  event,  nor  how  far 
he  had  advanced  towards  it  when  he  was  planning 
and  writing  his  History  of  Ireland.  Here  both  the 
suggestion  and  inspiration  are  evidently  due  to  his 
reception.  Father  Persons  calls  the  letter  "  a 
vehement  epistle,"  and  doubtless  the  ardour  with 
which  he  addresses  his  correspondent,  and  the 
motives  he  sets  before  him,  show  us  the  fervour 
and  the  reasons  with  which  he  himself  had  been 
actuated  at  that  crisis  in  his  life. 

"  It  is  not  now  as  of  old  the  dash  of  youth,  or 
facility  of  pen,  nor  any  punctilious  care  of  regularity 
in  correspondence,  that  makes  me  write  to  you. 
I  used  to  write  from  the  mere  abundance  of  my 
heart :  a  greater  necessity  has  forced  me  to  write 
this  letter.  We  have  already  been  too  long  sub 
servient  to  popular  report,  to  the  times,  to  reputation. 
At  length  let  us  say  something  for  the  salvation  of 
our  souls.  I  beg  you,  by  your  own  natural  good 
ness,  by  my  tears,  even  by  the  pierced  side  of 
Christ  and  the  wounds  of  the  Crucified,  to  listen 
to  me. 

"  There  is  no  end  nor  measure  to  my  thinking 
of  you  ;  and  I  never  think  of  you  without  being 
horribly  ashamed,  praying  silently,  and  repeating 


284  BLESSED   EDMUND   CAMPION 

the  text  of  the  Psalm,  Ab  alienis,  Domine,  parce 
servo  tuo.  '  From  the  sins  of  others,  O  Lord,  spare 
Thy  servant.'  What  have  I  done  ?  It  is  written  : 
Videbas  fur  em  et  currebas  cum  eo ;  and  Laudatur 
peccator  in  desideriis  suis,  et  impius  benedicitur.  '  Thou 
didst  see  the  thief,  and  didst  run  with  him.  The 
sinner  is  praised  in  his  desires,  and  the  impious 
is  blest.' 

"  So  often  was  I  with  you  at  Gloucester,  so  often 
in  your  private  chamber,  so  many  hours  have  I 
spent  in  your  study  and  library,  with  no  one  near 
us  when  I  could  have  done  this  business,  and  I  did 
it  not;  and  what  is  worse,  I  have  added  flames  to 
the  fever  by  assenting  and  assisting.  And  though 
you  were  superior  to  me  in  your  counterfeited 
dignity,  in  wealth,  age,  and  learning  ;  and  although 
I  was  not  bound  to  look  after  the  physicking  or 
dieting  of  your  soul,  yet  since  you  were  of  so  easy 
and  sweet  a  temper,  as  in  spite  of  your  grey  hairs 
to  admit  me,  young  as  I  was,  to  a  familiar  inter 
course  with  you,  to  say  whatever  I  chose  in  all 
security  and  secrecy,  while  you  imparted  to  me  your 
sorrows  and  all  the  calumnies  of  the  other  heretics 
against  you.  Like  a  father,  you  exhorted  me  to 
walk  straight  and  upright  in  the  royal  road,  to 
follow  the  steps  of  the  Church,  the  Councils  and 
Fathers,  and  to  believe  that,  where  there  was  a 
consensus  of  these,  there  could  be  no  stain  of  false 
hood.  This  now  makes  me  very  angry  with  myself 
for  my  false  modesty  or  culpable  negligence,  because 
I  made  no  use  of  so  fair  an  opportunity  of  recom 
mending  the  Faith,  and  applied  no  bold  incentive  to 


BLESSED   EDMUND   CAMPION  285 


one  who  was  so  near  to  the  Kingdom  of  God,  but, 
while  I  enjoyed  your  favour  and  renown,  I  promoted 
rather  the  shadowy  notion  of  my  own  honour  than 
your  eternal  good. 

"  But  as  I  have  no  longer  the  occasion  that 
I  had  of  persuading  you  face  to  face,  it  remains 
that  I  should  send  my  words  to  you  to  witness  to 
my  regard,  my  care,  my  anxiety  known  to  Him  to 
whom  I  make  my  daily  prayer  for  your  salvation. 
Listen,  I  beseech  you,  listen  to  a  few  words.  You 
are  sixty  years  old  more  or  less,  of  uncertain  health, 
of  weakened  body,  the  hatred  of  heretics,  the  shame 
of  Catholics,  the  talk  of  the  people,  the  sorrow  of 
your  friends,  the  laughing-stock  of  your  enemies. 
Against  your  conscience  you  falsely  usurp  the  name 
of  a  bishop;  by  your  silence  you  advance  a  pestilent 
sect  which  you  love  not,  stricken  with  anathema, 
cut  off  from  the  body  into  which  alone  the  graces 
of  Christ  flow,  you  are  deprived  of  the  benefit  of  all 
prayers,  sacrifices,  and  sacraments.  Whom  do  you 
think  yourself  to  be  ?  What  do  you  expect  ?  What 
is  your  life  ?  Wherein  lies  your  hope  ?  Is  it  in  the 
heretics,  who  hate  you  so  implacably,  and  abuse  you 
so  roundly  ?  Is  it  because  of  all  heresiarchs  you  are 
the  least  crazy  ?  Because  you  confess  the  true 
presence  of  Christ  on  the  altar  and  the  freedom 
of  man's  will  ?  Because  you  persecute  no  Catholics 
within  your  diocese  ?  Because  you  are  hospitable 
to  your  townspeople  and  to  good  men  ?  Because 
you  have  not  plundered  your  palace  and  lands  as 
your  brethren  do  ? 

"  Surely  these  things   will    avail    much    if   you 


286  BLESSED   EDMUND   CAMPION 

return  to  the  bosom  of  the  Church  ;  if  in  company 
with  the  household  of  the  faith  you  suffer  even  the 
smallest  persecution,  or  take  any  wholesome  counsel. 
But  now  whilst  you  are  a  stranger  arid  an  enemy, 
whilst  like  a  base  deserter  you  light  under  a  foreign 
flag,  it  is  in  vain  to  attempt  to  cover  your  many  crimes 
with  the  cloak  of  virtue.  You  will  gain  nothing 
except  perhaps  to  be  tortured  somewhat  less 
horribly  in  the  everlasting  fire  than  Judas,  or  Luther, 
or  Zwinglius,  or  than  those  antagonists  of  yours— 
Cooper,  Humphrey,  and  Samson.  What  signifies 
the  kind  of  death  ?  Death  is  the  same,  whether 
you  are  thrown  from  a  high  rock  into  the  sea  or 
pushed  from  a  low  bank  into  the  river ;  whether  one 
is  killed  by  iron  or  by  rope,  whether  racked  in 
torture  or  shot  dead,  whether  cut  down  by  sword  or 
axe,  whether  crushed  under  stones  or  battered  by 
clubs,  whether  roasted  with  fire  or  scalded  in  water. 
"  What  is  the  use  of  fighting  for  many  articles  of 
the  Faith  and  to  perish  for  doubting  of  a  few  ?  To 
escape  shipwreck  and  to  fall  by  the  dagger?  To 
flee  from  the  plague  and  die  of  famine  ?  To  avoid 
the  flames  and  be  suffocated  by  the  smoke  ?  He 
believes  no  one  article  of  the  Faith  who  refuses  to 
believe  any  single  one.  For  as  soon  as  he  knowingly 
oversteps  the  bounds  of  the  Church,  which  is  the 
pillar  and  ground  of  the  truth,  to  which  Christ 
Jesus,  the  highest,  first,  and  most  simple  truth,  the 
source,  light,  leader,  measure,  and  pattern  of  the 
faithful,  reveals  all  these  articles — however  many 
Catholic  dogmas  he  retains,  yet  if  he  perniciously 
plucks  out  one,  that  which  he  holds,  he  holds  not  by 


BLESSED   EDMUND   CAMPION  287 

orthodox  faith,  without  which  it  is  impossible  to 
please  God,  but  by  his  own  reason,  his  own  con 
viction. 

"  In  vain  do  you  defend  the  religion  of  the 
Catholics  if  you  hug  only  -that  which  you  like, 
and  cut  off  all  that  seems  not  right  in  your  eyes. 
There  is  but  one  plain  known  road,  not  enclosed  by 
your  palings  or  mine,  not  by  private  judgment, 
but  by  the  severe  laws  of  humility  and  obedience  ; 
when  you  wander  from  this  you  are  lost.  You 
must  be  altogether  within  the  house  of  God,  within 
the  walls  of  salvation,  to  be  sound  and  safe  from 
injury;  if  you  wander  and  walk  abroad  ever  so 
little,  if  you  carelessly  thrust  hand  or  foot  out  of 
the  ship,  if  you  stir  up  ever  so  small  a  mutiny  in 
the  crew,  you  shall  be  thrust  forth  ; — the  door  is 
shut,  the  ocean  roars,  you  are  undone. 

"  '  He  who  gathereth  not  with  Me,'  saith  the 
Saviour,  '  scattereth.'  Jerome  explains,  '  he  who 
is  not  Christ's  is  Antichrist's.'  You  are  not  so  stupid 
as  to  follow  the  heresy  of  the  Sacramentarians ; 
you  are  not  so  mad  as  to  be  in  all  things  a  slave 
of  Luther's  faction,  now  condemned  in  the  General 
Councils,  which  you  yourself  think  authoritative, 
of  Constance  and  Trent.  And  yet  you  stick  in 
the  mire  of  your  own  conceit,  so  that  you  may 
pose  as  a  man  who  brings  to  light  the  artifices  of 
pedants,1  and  who  presides  as  an  honoured  judge 
over  the  poorer  brethren. 

"  You    will    remember    the    sober    and     solemn 
answer  which  you  gave  me,  when  three  years  ago 

1  Cornicum  oculos  configere. 


288  BLESSED   EDMUND   CAMPION 

we  met  in  the  house  of  Thomas  Button,  at 
Sherborne,  where  we  were  to  dine.  We  fell  to 
talking  of  St.  Cyprian.  I  objected  to  you,  in  order 
to  discover  your  real  opinions,  that  synod  of 
Carthage  which  erred  about  the  baptism  of 
infants.  You  answered  truly  that  the  Holy  Spirit 
was  not  promised  to  one  province,  but  to  the 
Church  ;  that  the  Universal  Church  is  represented 
in  a  full  Council,  and  that  no  doctrine  can  be 
pointed  out  about  which  such  Councils  ever  erred. 
Acknowledge  your  weapons,  with  which  you  conquer 
the  adversaries  of  the  mystery  of  the  Eucharist. 
You  cry  up  the  Christian  world,  the  assemblies 
of  bishops,  the  guardians  of  the  deposit,  that  is,  the 
ancient  faith;  these  you  commend  to  the  people 
as  the  interpreters  of  Scripture;  most  rightly  do 
you  ridicule  and  hold  up  to  scorn  the  impudent 
figment  of  certain  professors  of  false  patristic.1 

"  Now  what  do  you  say  ?  Behold  the  renowned 
Fathers,  the  patriarchs  and  apostolic  men,  of  late 
gathered  at  Trent,  who  were  all  united  to  contend 
for  the  ancient  faith  of  the  Fathers.  Legates, 
prelates,  cardinals,  bishops,  deputies,  doctors  of 
diverse  nations,  of  mature  age,  of  rare  wisdom, 
princely  dignity,  wonderful  learning.  There  were 
collected  Italians,  Frenchmen,  Spaniards,  Portu 
guese,  Greeks,  Poles,  Hungarians,  Flemings,  Illyrians, 
many  Germans,  some  Irish,  Croats,  Moravians- 
even  England  was  not  unrepresented.  All  these, 
whilst  you  live  as  you  are  living,  anathematize 

1  Patrunculorum  quorundam.  So  Bombino  for  Latyunculonim ,  which 
might  mean  "  worthless  wretches,"  "  mere  pawns." 


BLESSED   EDMUND   CAMPION  28g 

you,  drive  you  out,  banish  you,  abjure  you. 
What  reason  can  you  urge  ?  Especially  now  you 
have  declared  war  against  your  colleagues,  why  do 
you  not  make  full  submission,  without  any  excep 
tions,  to  the  discipline  of  these  Fathers  ?  See  you 
aught  in  the  Lord's  Supper  that  they  saw  not, 
discussed  not,  resolved  not  ?  Dare  you  equal 
yourself  by  even  the  hundredth  part  with  the  lowest 
theologians  of  this  Council  ?  I  have  confidence  in 
your  discretion  and  modesty,  you  dare  not.  You 
are  surpassed  then  by  your  judges  in  number,  value, 
weight,  and  in  the  serious  and  clear  testimony  of 
the  whole  world. 

"  Once  more  consult  your  own  heart,  my  poor 
old  friend.  Show  again  your  old  nobility  of 
character  and  those  excellent  gifts  which  of  late 
are  smothered  in  the  mud  of  dishonesty.  Give 
yourself  to  your  mother  who  begot  you  to  Christ, 
nourished  you,  consecrated  you  ;  acknowledge  how 
cruel  and  undutiful  you  have  been  ;  let  confession 
be  the  salve  of  your  sins.  You  have  one  foot  in 
the  grave;  you  must  die,  perhaps  directly,  certainly 
in  a  very  short  time,  and  stand  before  that  tribunal 
where  you  will  hear,  '  Give  an  account  of  thy 
stewardship.'  Unless,  while  you  are  on  the  way, 
you  make  it  up  quickly  and  exactly  with  the 
Adversary  of  sin,  it  shall  be  required  to  the  last 
farthing,  and  you  shall  be  driven  miserably  from  the 
land  of  the  living  by  Him  whom  you  will  never  be 
able  to  pay. 

4  Then    those     hands     which     have     conferred 
spurious  Orders  on  so  many  wretched  youths  shall 
T  ii. 


2go  BLESSED   EDMUND   CAMPION 

for  very  pain  scratch  and  tear  your  sulphurous  body  ; 
that  mouth  stained  with  perjury,  and  defiled  with 
schism,  shall  be  filled  with  fire  and  worms  and  the 
breath  of  tempests.  That  swelling  carnal  pomp 
of  yours,  your  episcopal  throne,  your  yearly 
revenues,  spacious  palace,  honourable  greetings, 
band  of  servants,  elegant  furniture,  that  affluence 
for  which  the  poor  ignorant  people  esteem  you  so 
happy,  shall  be  exchanged  for  fearful  wailings, 
gnashing  of  teeth,  stench,  misery,  filth,  and  chains. 
There  shall  the  spirits  of  Calvin  and  Zwingli,  whom 
you  now  oppose,  afflict  you  for  ever,  with  Arms, 
Sabellius,  Nestorius,  Wyclif,  Luther, — yea,  with  the 
devil  and  his  angels  you  shall  suffer  the  pains  of 
darkness  and  belch  out  blasphemies. 

"  Spare  yourself,  be  merciful  to  your  soul,  spare 
my  grief.  Your  ship  is  wrecked,  your  merchandise 
lost ;  nevertheless  seize  the  plank  of  penance,  strike 
out  with  all  your  might,  and  come  even  naked  to 
the  harbour  of  the  Church.  Fear  not  but  that 
Christ  will  preserve  you  with  His  hand,  run  to  meet 
you,  kiss  you,  and  put  on  you  the  white  garment ; 
the  hosts  of  Heaven  will  exult.  Take  no  thought 
for  your  life  ;  He  will  take  thought  for  you,  who 
gives  the  beasts  their  food,  and  feeds  the  young 
ravens  that  call  upon  Him. 

"  If  you  but  made  trial  of  our  banishment,  if  you 
but  cleared  your  conscience  and  came  to  behold  and 
consider  the  living  examples  of  piety  which  are 
shown  here  by  bishops,  priests,  friars,  masters  of 
colleges,  rulers  of  provinces,  lay  people  of  every  age, 
rank  and  sex,  I  believe  that  you  would  give  up  six 


BLESSED   EDMUND   CAMPION  2gr 

hundred  Englands  for  the  opportunity  of  redeeming 
the  residue  of  your  time  by  tears  and  sorrow.  But 
if  for  divers  reasons  you  are  hindered  from  going 
freely  whither  you  would,  at  least  free  your  mind 
from  its  grievous  chains,  and  whether  you  remain 
or  whether  you  flee,  set  your  body  any  task,  rather 
than  let  its  grossness  oppress  you,  and  banish  you 
to  the  depths  of  Hell.  God  knows  those  that  are 
His,  and  is  near  to  all  that  call  upon  Him  in  truth. 

"  Pardon,  my  venerated  old  friend,  for  these  just 
reproaches    and    for   the    heat    of   my  love.     Suffer 
me  to    hate  that  deadly  disease,  let  me   avert   the 
perilous    crisis  of  so    noble  a  man    and  so  dear    a 
friend,  with  any  dose  however  bitter.     That  it  will 
be  so — if  Christ  gives  grace  and  you  do  not  refuse— 
I  hope  as  firmly  as  I  love  you  dearly,  and  I  love  you 
as  passing  excellent  in  nature,  in  learning,  in  gentle 
ness,   in   goodness,   and   as   doubly  dear  to  me   for 
your    many   kindnesses    and    courtesies.       If    you 
recover  yourself,  you   make  me  happy  for  ever  ;   if 
you   decline,  this  letter  is  my  witness.     God  judge 
between    you  and    me,   your  blood  be   on  yourself. 
Farewell. —  From     him     that    most     desires    your 
salvation. 

"  EDMUND  CAMPION." 
(Nov.  i,  1571.) 

As  a  summary  of  arguments  against  the  via 
media,  as  an  exposition  of  the  hollowness  of  the 
Anglican  position,  of  the  absolute,  essential  and 
necessary  antagonism  between  Anglicanism  and 
Catholicism,  of  the  impossibility  of  salvation  outside 
the  one  Church,  and  of  the  consequent  need  for 


2Q2  BLESSED   EDMUND   CAMPION 

all  to  join  it,  this  letter  is  perhaps  unsurpassed. 
How  far  it  told  with  Cheney,  we  know  not.  The  last 
traces  of  Catholicism  were  being  expunged  from 
Elizabeth's  religion.  The  Communion  was  no  longer 
to  be  put  into  the  mouth  but  into  the  hands  of  the 
communicant ;  all  ceremonies  and  gestures  not 
prescribed  in  the  prayer-book  were  to  cease  ;  people 
were  to  communicate,  not  on  the  great  feasts  of 
Easter  or  Christmas,  but  on  Ash  Wednesday  and  on 
one  of  the  two  Sundays  before  Easter,  Whit  Sunday, 
and  Christmas.  All  altars  were  to  be  pulled  down 
and  the  altar-stones  defaced,  and  put  to  some 
common  use.  Prayers  for  the  dead,  the  wearing 
or  the  use  of  the  rosary,  the  burning  of  candles 
on  the  feast  of  the  Purification,  and  the  sign  of 
the  Cross  were  alike  strictly  forbidden.  All  this 
was  enough  to  decide  Cheney.  Still  Campion 
says  of  him,  in  1581,  two  years  after  the  Bishop's 
death,  "  a  most  miserable  old  man,  evil  entreated  by 
robbers  without,  who  yet  entered  not  his  father's  house." 
It  is  possible  that  he  was  reconciled  secretly;  in 
any  case  he  was  mistrusted  by  the  Protestants 
in  life  and  in  death,  for  though  he  was  buried  in 
Gloucester  Cathedral,  no  monument  or  memorial 
marked  his  remains. 

At  Douay  Campion  took  the  degree  of  Bachelor 
of  Divinity,  in  acts  held  on  March  the  2ist,  and  the 
27th  of  November,  1572,  and  the  2ist  of  June,  1573, 
and  received  minor  orders  and  the  sub-diaconate. 

After  nearly  two  years  here,  Campion  felt  drawn 
to  the  Society  of  Jesus,  and  set  forth  in  pilgrim's 
garb  for  Rome.  On  the  road  he  met  an  old  Oxford 


BLESSED   EDMUND   CAMPION  293. 

acquaintance,  a  Protestant,  who  had  known  him 
"in  great  pomp  and  prosperity,"  and  who  remons 
trated  with  him  on  his  absurd  dress  and  mean  mode 
oi  life,  as  unworthy  of  an  Englishman,  and  tit  only 
for  a  crazy  fanatic.  But  Campion,  says  Persons, 
"  made  such  a  speech  of  the  contempt  of  this  world, 
and  the  eminent  dignity  of  poverty,  as  greatly  moved 
the  man  and  us  also  his  acquaintance  that  remained 
yet  in  Oxford  when  the  report  reached  our  ears." 

Campion  having  reached  Rome  in  the  spring 
°f  i573»  entered  the  Society  in  April,  and  there 
being  then  no  English  Province,  he  was  allotted  to 
that  of  Austria.  After  two  months  in  Prague,  he 
spent  one  year's  probation  at  Briinn,  and  then 
returned  to  Prague  to  teach.  His  fervour  in  his 
novitiate  may  be  guessed  from  the  following  letters 
addressed  to  his  late  companions  at  Brunn. 

I. 

"  How  much  I  love  you  in  the  bowels  of  Jesus 
Christ,  my  dearest  brothers,  you  may  conclude  from 
this,  that  in  spite  of  my  daily  occupations  which 
scarcely  leave  me  time  to  breathe,  I  have  decided 
to  steal  time  from  the  midst  of  my  functions  and 
cares  to  write  to  you.  How  could  I  do  otherwise 
directly  I  heard  of  a  sure  messenger  to  Brunn  ?  How 
could  I  help  being  set  on  rire  at  the  remembrance 
of  that  house,  where  there  are  so  many  burning 
souls,  fire  in  their  mind,  fire  in  their  body,  fire  in  their 
words — the  fire  which  God  came  to  send  upon  earth, 
that  it  might  always  burn  there  ?  O  dear  walls,  that 
once  shut  me  up  in  your  company!  Pleasant 


294  BLESSED    EDMUND   CAMPION 

recreation-room,  where  we  once  talked  so  holily ! 
Glorious  kitchen,  where  the  best  friends  .  .  .  contend 
for  the  saucepans  in  holy  humility  and  charity 
unfeigned  !  How  often  do  I  picture  to  myself  one 
returning  with  his  load  from  the  farm,  another  from 
the  market ;  one  sweating  stalwartly  and  merrily 
under  a  sack  of  rubbish,  another  under  some  other 
toil !  Believe  me,  my  dearest  brothers,  that  your 
dust,  your  brooms,  your  chaff,  your  loads,  are 
regarded  by  angels  with  joy,  and  that  through 
them  they  obtain  more  for  you  from  God  than  if 
they  saw  in  your  hands  sceptres,  jewels,  and  purses 
of  gold. 

"  Would  that  I  knew  not  what  I  say;  but  yet,  as 
I  do  know  it,  I  will  say  it :  in  the  wealth,  honours, 
pleasures,  pomps  of  the  world,  there  is  nothing  but 
thorns  and  dirt.  The  poverty  of  Christ  has  less 
pinching  parsimony,  less  of  weariness,  than  an 
emperor's  palace.  But  if  we  speak  of  the  spiritual 
food,  who  can  doubt  that  one  hour  of  this  familiar 
intercourse  with  God  and  with  good  spirits,  is 
better  than  all  the  years  of  kings  and  princes? 
I  have  been  about  a  year  in  religion,  in  the  world 
thirty-five ;  what  a  happy  change,  if  I  could  say 
I  had  been  a  year  in  the  world,  in  religion  thirty- 
five  !  .  .  .  Prague,  26  February,  1575. 

n. 

"Although  the  words  of  men,  my  dearest 
brothers,  ought  to  have  much  less  weight  and 
influence  with  you  than  that  Spirit  who  without 
sound  of  words  whispers  in  your  ears,  yet  since  this 


BLESSED   EDMUND   CAMPION  295 

work  of  love  is  not  altogether  useless  or  unnecessary, 
your  charity  will  cause  you  to  receive  this  fraternal 
letter,  the  witness  of  my  love  and  duty,  with  your 
usual  kindness.  I  write  not  to  you  as  though  you 
required  the  spur,  for  wherever  you  go  your  hearts 
are  ever  inflamed  with  all  the  virtues,  but  that  I, 
while  I  employ  my  time  in  writing  to  you,  may  spur 
myself,  and  may  enjoy  the  perfume  of  the  remem 
brance  of  your  affection,  and  may  testify  my 
affection  towards  you.  And  I  would  that,  as  I  speak 
and  you  perform,  so  you  might  speak  and  I  perform. 
For  I  know  what  liberty  there  is  in  obedience, 
what  pleasure  in  labour,  what  sweetness  in  prayer, 
what  dignity  in  humility,  what  peace  in  conflict, 
what  nobleness  in  patience,  what  perfection  in 
infirmity. 

"  But  to  reduce  these  virtues  to  actual  practice, 
there  is  the  rub,  that  is  the  work  which  you  are 
doing,  running  in  glorious  career  what  I  may  call 
races  of  Heaven  on  earth.  I,  as  the  poet  says, 
will  follow  as  I  can,  non  passibus  czquis.  My  dearest 
brothers,  our  life  is  not  long  enough  to  thank 
Christ  for  revealing  these  mysteries  to  us.  Which 
of  us  would  have  believed  unless  He  had  called  him 
and  instructed  him  in  this  school,  that  such  thorns, 
such  filth,  such  misery,  such  harrowing  sorrows 
were  concealed  in  the  world  under  the  feigned 
name  of  goods  and  pleasures  ?  Which  of  us  would 
have  thought  your  kitchen  better  than  a  royal 
palace  ?  your  broths  better  than  any  banquet  ? 
your  troubles  than  others'  contentment  ?  your 
conflicts  than  their  quiet  ?  your  crumbs  than  their 


2g6  BLESSED   EDMUND   CAMPION 

abundance  ?  your  mean  estate  than  their  triumphs 
and  victories  ?  For  I  ask  you,  whether,  if  you 
could  compass  what  they  so  much  desire,  and 
through  the  whole  course  of  your  life  feed  your 
eyes  on  sight-seeing,  and  changes  of  scene  and  of 
company,  your  eyes  would  be  the  stronger  ?  If  you 
fed  your  ears  with  news,  would  they  be  the  fuller  ? 
If  you  gratified  your  heart's  every  desire,  would 
it  be  richer  ?  If  you  filled  your  flesh  with  feasting, 
would  it  become  immortal  ?  This  is  their  dark 
delusion,  who  are  deceived  by  vanities,  and  know 
not  what  a  happy  life  means.  For  while  they  hope 
and  expect  great  things,  they  fancy  they  are  making 
great  progress,  and  not  one  in  a  hundred  obtains 
what  he  dreamed,  and  if  perchance  one  obtains  it, 
yet  after  he  has  reckoned  up  his  accounts  and  made 
an  inventory  of  his  load  of  care,  the  slipperiness  of 
fortune,  his  disgraceful  servility,  his  fears,  plots, 
troubles,  annoyances,  quarrels,  crimes,  which  must 
always  accompany  and  vex  the  lovers  of  the  world, 
he  will  doubtless  find  himself  to  be  a  very  base  and 
needy  slave.  One  sigh  of  yours  for  Heaven  is  better 
than  all  their  clamours  for  this  dirt ;  one  conver 
sation  of  yours,  where  the  angels  are  present,  is  better 
than  all  their  parties  and  debauched  drinking-bouts, 
where  the  devils  fill  the  bowls.  One  day  of  yours 
consecrated  to  God  is  worth  more  than  all  their  life, 
which  they  spend  in  luxury.  My  brothers,  run  as 
you  have  begun ;  acknowledge  God's  goodness  to 
you,  and  the  dignity  of  your  state.  Can  any  pomp 
of  kings  or  emperors,  any  grandeur,  any  pleasure, 
I  will  not  say  equal,  but  shadow  forth  your  honour 


BLESSED   EDMUND   CAMPION  297 

and  consolation  ?  They  (I  speak  of  the  good  among 
them)  fight  under  Christ  their  King,  with  their 
baggage  on  tneir  back;  you  are  eased  of  your 
burdens,  and  are  called  with  the  beloved  disciple  to 
be  familiar  followers  of  your  Lord.  They  are  admitted 
to  the  palace,  you  to  the  presence  chamber ;  they  to 
such  repast  as  they  can  find,  you  to  the  store-rooms 
filled  with  delicious  meats;  they  to  friendship,  you 
to  love  ;  they  to  things  costly  and  rare,  but  you  to 
the  innermost  recesses  of  the  treasury.  Think  how 
hard  they  are  put  to,  they  even  who  live  as  they 
ought  in  this  naughty  world  ;  then  you  will  more 
easily  see  what  you  owe  to  His  mercy  in  calling 
you  out  of  infinite  dangers  into  His  Society.  How 
hardly  shall  they  follow  Christ  when  He  marches 
forth  in  haste  against  His  enemies,  who  have  wives 
on  their  bosom,  children  on  their  shoulders,  lands 
on  their  back,  cares  on  their  heads,  whose  feet  are 
bound  with  cords,  whose  spirits  are  well-nigh 
smothered.  Is  not  your  happiness  great  whom  the 
King  marshals  by  His  side,  covers  with  His  cloak, 
clothes  and  honours  with  His  own  livery? 

"Yet  after  all  what  great  thing  is  it  for  me  to  leave 
friends  for  Him,  who  left  Heaven  for  me?  What 
great  thing  for  me  to  be  a  servant  to  my  brethren, 
when  He  washed  the  feet  of  the  traitor  Judas  ? 
What  wonder  if  I  obey  my  fathers,  when  He 
honoured  Pilate  ?  What  mighty  thing  for  me  to 
bear  labours  for  Him,  who  bore  His  Cross  for  me? 
What  disgrace  if  I,  a  sinner,  bear  to  be  rebuked, 
when  He  in  His  innocency,  was  curst,  spit  upon, 
scourged,  wounded,  and  put  to  death  ?  Whenever 


298 


BLESSED   EDMUND   CAMPION 


we  look  into  this  glass,  my  brothers,  we  see  clearly 
that  the  temptation  of  no  pleasure,  the  fear  of  no 
pain,  should  pluck  us  from  the  arms  of  such  a 
master.  You  see  I  have  nearly  filled  my  paper, 
though  I  have  plenty  to  do.  It  is  time  to  check 
myself  and  to  remit  you  to  that  Teacher,  who  by 
His  sacred  influences  can  impress  these  things 
more  strongly  on  your  minds  than  I  can.  Hear 
Him,  for  He  hath  the  words  of  eternal  life. — 
20  February,  1577." 

On  the  i8th  of  October,  1574,  Campion,  having 
completed  his  novitiate,  was  sent  to  teach  rhetoric 
at  the  Jesuit  College  at  Prague.  He  both  excited 
and  directed  the  literary  enthusiasm  of  this  College 
with  marvellous  success.  For  the  spiritual  benefit 
of  his  students  he  founded,  in  January,  1575,  the 
Sodality  of  the  Immaculate  Conception.  Besides 
his  professorship  he  was  loaded  with  other  offices. 
In  the  morning  he  rose  half  an  hour  before  the 
rest ;  he  rang  the  bell  to  arouse  them,  and  went 
to  each  cell  to  awaken  the  inmate  and  light  his 
candle.  After  fifteen  minutes  he  repeated  his  visits 
to  see  that  all  were  dressing;  then  he  rang  both 
for  the  beginning  and  end  of  prayers.  After  two 
hours  of  school  he  went  to  the  kitchen  to  wash 
the  dishes.  Without  the  house  "he  preached 
publicly,"  says  Persons,  "  made  exhortations  in 
private,  taught  the  Christian  doctrine  unto  children, 
heard  confessions,  visited  prisons  and  hospitals  of 
sick  men,  and  at  the  death  of  sundry  great  persons 
made  such  excellent  funeral  orations  as  astonished 


BLESSED   EDMUND   CAMPION  299 

the  hearers."  Though  we  are  not  to  suppose  that 
he  did  all  these  things  every  day,  it  nevertheless 
seemed  a  miracle  that  he  could  bear  all  his  labours, 
and  yet  he  was  never  in  better  health. 

It  is  interesting  to  turn  at  this  point  to  his 
discourse,  De  juvene  Academico,1  in  which  he  sets 
forth  what  he  conceives  to  be  the  highest  ideal  of  a 
Catholic  scholar. 

This  imaginary  person  is  supposed  to  be  born 
of  well-to-do  Catholic  parents,  to  have  been  gently 
nurtured,  and  to  have  learnt  his  religion  with  his 
alphabet.  His  mind  was  "subtle,  hot,  and  clear; 
his  voice  flexible,  sweet,  and  sonorous  ;  his  walk 
and  all  his  motions  lively,  gentle,  and  subdued,  and 
the  whole  man  seeming  a  palace  fit  for  wisdom  to 
dwell  in."  He  was  taught  by  one  of  the  greatest 
scholars  of  the  day,  and  his  pronunciation  specially 
cared  for,  so  that  when  he  grew  older,  he  easily 
acquired  the  true  terms  of  eloquence.  The  school 
years  were  devoted  to  the  classics,  especially  to 
the  works  of  Cicero  in  Latin  for  the  purpose  of 
debate,  and  he  acquired  a  knowledge  of  painting, 
playing  the  lute,  and  singing  at  sight.  On  attaining 
the  age  of  sixteen  he  began  to  meditate  on  his 
vocation  in  life,  and  to  prepare  himself  for  that, 

1  The  date  of  this  composition  is  uncertain.  Father  Persons 
ascribes  it  to  Campion's  stay  in  Ireland,  Mr.  Simpson  to  his  residence 
at  Douay,  and  conceives  it  to  refer  to  the  seminarists.  But  it  is 
more  probable  that  it  was  written  while  Campion  was  at  Prague, 
where  he  taught  secular  students,  such  as  are  described  in  his 
speech.  This  speech,  moreover,  contains  no  reference  to  England, 
or  to  the  very  peculiar  circumstances  of  the  Douay  seminarists. 


3oo  BLESSED   EDMUND   CAMPION 

he  read  philosophy,  chiefly  in  Aristotle  and  Plato, 
and  his  studies  further  included  history,  mathe 
matics,  and  the  physical  sciences,  as  far  as  they 
were  then  known.  All  his  reading  was  done  in 
order  and  moderation.  He  avoided  alike  pro 
miscuous  literature  and  late  hours,  and  always 
allowed  himself  about  seven  hours  sleep.  Above 
all,  he  never  read  writings  of  a  dangerous  or 
immoral  kind,  of  which  Ovid's  Art  of  Love  is 
given  as  a  type.  His  religious  exercises  included 
attendance  at  the  sermons  and  catechisms,  private 
conferences  with  theologians,  and  the  perusal  of 
contemporary  Catholic  authors,  especially  contro- 
versialistic,  to  arm  him  against  the  dangers  of  the 
day.  He  was  on  his  guard  against  superstition. 
With  his  fellow-students  he  was  gentle  and  kind, 
especially  with  those  of  lowly  birth,  and  was  atten 
tive  and  charitable  to  the  sick. 

At  the  age  of  twenty-three  this  ideal  student 
begins  his  course  of  theology  proper,  and  here 
Campion  artistically  ends.  The  academic  course 
might  be  considered  as  completed,  and  his  hearers 
were  left  to  infer  that  this  ideal  school-boy  and 
university  man  would  eventually  develop  into  an 
ecclesiastic  who  would  effect  wonders  in  the  cause 
of  God,  of  the  Church,  and  of  his  fellow-men. 

After  exhorting  his  auditors  not  to  despair 
because  the  ideal  was  so  high,  he  concludes  with 
an  ardent  appeal  to  them  to  give  themselves  heart 
and  soul  to  the  service  of  the  Church. 

"  Listen  to    our   Heavenly  Father  asking  back 


BLESSED   EDMUND   CAMPION  301 

His  talents  with  usury;  listen  to  the  Church,  the 
mother  that  bore  and  nursed  us,  imploring  our 
help ;  listen  to  the  pitiful  cries  of  our  neighbours 
in  danger  of  spiritual  starvation;  listen  to  the 
howling  of  the  wolves  that  are  spoiling  the  flock. 
The  glory  of  your  father,  the  preservation  of  your 
mother,  your  own  salvation,  the  safety  of  your 
brethren  are  in  jeopardy,  and  can  you  stand  idle  ? 
If  this  house  were  blazing  before  your  eyes,  what 
would  you  think  of  the  young  reprobate  who  sang 
or  grinned,  or  snapped  his  fingers,  or  rode  cock 
horse  on  his  cane,  in  the  common  crisis  ?  Behold 
by  the  wickedness  of  the  wicked  the  house  of  God 
is  devoted  to  the  flames  and  to  destruction,  number 
less  souls  are  being  deceived,  are  being  shaken,  are 
being  lost ;  any  one  of  which  is  worth  more  than 
the  empire  of  the  whole  world.  Do  not,  I  pray  you, 
regard  such  a  tragedy  as  a  joke ;  sleep  not  while 
the  enemy  watches ;  play  not  while  he  devours  his 
prey ;  relax  not  in  idleness  and  vanity  while  his 
fangs  are  stained  with  your  brother's  blood.  It  is 
not  wealth  or  liberty  or  station,  but  the  eternal 
inheritance  of  each  of  us,  the  very  life-blood  of  our 
souls,  our  spirits,  and  our  lives  that  suffer.  See 
then,  my  dear  scholarly  young  friends,  that  you  lose 
none  of  this  precious  time,  but  carry  a  plentiful  and 
rich  crop  away  from  this  seminary,  enough  to  supply 
the  public  wants,  and  to  gain  for  yourselves  the 
reward  of  dutiful  sons." 

A  word   must   here   be  said  about  the  interior 
trials  from  which  Campion  suffered  at  this  period. 


302       .  BLESSED   EDMUND  CAMPION 

Father  Persons  tells  us,  that  "  the  greatest  and  only 
difficulty  which  the  Fathers  there  had  with  him 
for  a  time,  was  to  appease  his  conscience  about  the 
scruple,  whereof  I  have  spoken,  touching  his  being 
made  deacon  in  England  after  the  heretical  fashion  ; 
the  memory  of  which  profane  degree  and  schismatical 
order  did  so  much  torment  his  mind  every  time 
that  he  did  think  attentively  of  it,  as  it  did  breed  in 
him  extreme  affliction.  Neither  sufficed  it  to  tell 
him,  which  also  he  knew  right  well  of  himself,  that 
it  was  no  order,  degree,  or  character  at  all  that  he 
had  received,  seeing  he  that  gave  it  to  him  and  laid 
his  hands  upon  him  was  no  true  Bishop,  and 
consequently  had  no  authority  to  give  any  such 
order  more  than  a  mere  layman,  and  that  it  was 
only  an  apish  imitation  of  the  true  Bishops  of  the 
Catholic  Church,  that  which  the  Protestant  Bishops 
did  use  for  a  show  to  the  people,  as  though  they 
had  holy  and  ecclesiastical  orders  among  them ; 
but  indeed  themselves  did  not  so  esteem  thereof  that 
any  character  was  given  as  in  Catholic  ordinations 
by  imposition  of  hands,  for  that  amongst  them  a 
man  be  a  priest  or  minister  for  a  time  and  then  a 
soldier  or  craftsman  again,  and  that  the  Puritans 
or  newer  Calvinists  did  deny  flatly  all  spiritual 
authority  of  Bishops.  And  therefore,  albeit  the  sin 
was  great  for  a  Catholic  man,  especially  such  as 
Mr.  Campion  then  was,  to  take  any  ordination  at 
the  hands  of  any  such  heretical,  schismatical,  or 
excommunicated  persons;  yet  was  he  to  believe 
that  that  sin  was  now  fully  forgiven  by  his  hearty 
repentance  and  turning  to  Almighty  God,  and  by 


BLESSED   EDMUND   CAMPION  3o3 


his  satisfaction  already  done  for  the  same ;  and 
therefore  that  he  should  trouble  himself  no  more 
with  the  memory  thereof,  but  rather  put  it  wholly 
out  of  his  mind  and  cheerfully  proceed  in  the  service 
of  God  which  he  had  taken  in  hand. 

"This,  I  say,  and  divers  other  such-like  points 
were  often  inculcated  to  him  by  these  learned  men 
there,  and  especially  by  his  ghostly  fathers ;  which 
though  for  a  time  did  greatly  comfort  him,  yet 
every  now  and  then  the  remembrance  of  this  mark 
of  the  English  beast,  as  afterwards  he  was  wont 
to  tell  us,  did  make  him  sad  and  melancholy.  And 
he  could  never  wholly  be  delivered  of  this  inward 
grief  until  the  absolute  order  and  commandment 
of  his  General  came  from  Rome  to  trouble  himself 
no  more  about  that  scruple,  and  until  he  was  made 
both  deacon  and  priest  by  the  Archbishop  of 
Prague,  after  the  rite  of  the  Catholic  Church,  for 
by  the  receiving  of  this  true  character,  the  other 
imagination  was  wholly  blotted  out  and  put  in 
oblivion. 

"  So  then  after  this  he  lived  in  very  great  quiet 
and  contentment  of  mind  all  the  time  he  abode  in 
that  country,  which  was  for  the  space  of  eight  years, 
in  which  time  he  applied  himself  to  the  labours 
and  functions  of  his  religion  with  such  exceeding 
charity  and  zeal  and  perfect  obedience,  as  I  have 
heard  some  of  the  Fathers  say  who  lived  there  with 
him,  that  albeit  he  was  ever  fully  occupied  and 
many  times  with  divers  charges  and  functions  at 
once,  as  reading,  preaching,  and  the  like,  yet  it  was 
never  known  that  he  so  much  as  propounded  any 


304  BLESSED   EDMUND   CAMPION 


other  difficulty  to  his  Superior  when  he  laid  any 
new  labour  upon  him  but  only  this :  '  Doth  your 
Reverence  think  I  am  sufficient  to  discharge  that 
office  together  with  the  other  which  I  had  before?  ' 
And  if  the  Superior  said  yes,  he  took  the  same 
upon  him  without  further  reply,  persuading  himself 
to  hear  God's  voice  by  the  voice  of  his  Superior ; 
and  if  God  did  lay  this  charge  upon  him,  He  would 
give  him  strength  also,  and  ability  to  perform  it. 
This  was  his  manner  of  proceeding  then,  and  ever 
after,  and  namely  in  the  great  affair  of  his  journey 
to  England,  as  he  told  to  his  General,  and  to  us 
too,  when  he  returned  to  Rome ;  and  protesteth  the 
same  in  his  epistle  to  the  Council  of  England, 
whereof  we  shall  speak  after,  and  therefore  no 
marvel  if  Christ  his  Master  prospered  him  so  well 
and  brought  him  to  so  happy  an  end,  seeing  that 
in  all  his  actions  he  cast  himself  so  confidently 
upon  His  holy  providence." 

Whilst  at  Prague,  Campion  had  several  oppor 
tunities  of  helping  or  encouraging  his  own  country 
men.  He  had  interviews  with  Sir  Philip  Sidney, 
the  son  of  his  former  protector  in  Ireland,  who, 
though  only  twenty-one  years  of  age,  had  been  sent 
to  Bohemia  on  a  diplomatic  mission.  After  much 
argument  Sidney  professed  himself  convinced  of  the 
truth  of  the  Faith,  but  said  he  must  remain  as  he 
was,  though  he  promised  never  to  injure  Catholics. 

Later  on,  in  1577,  Campion  wrote  to  Gregory 
Martin  to  encourage  him,  at  the  time  when  the 
English  College  at  Douay  was  in  great  danger  of 


BLESSED  EDMUND    CAMPION  305 

being  suppressed  by  the  machinations  of  the  English 
and  Dutch  heretics.  It  was  (in  great  measure)  to 
guard  against  this  danger  that  the  English  College 
at  Rome  was  first  opened,  and  Martin  was  sent 
there  to  look  after  the  students.  Campion  cheered 
him  with  the  following  affectionate  letter : 

"  Such  accusations  as  those  wherewith  you 
accuse  me,  trouble  me  not,  for  they  coax  out  of  you 
a  letter  full  of  endearing  complaints,  and  let  me  see, 
to  my  joy,  how  lovingly  you  look  for  my  reply.  It 
may  perhaps  be  stale  to  excuse  myself  on  the 
plea  of  business,  but  I  do,  and  ever  will  steal  time 
enough  for  the  religious  rites  of  our  friendship, 
which  is  always  in  my  heart.  I  lately  sent  a  parcel 
to  you  at  Douay :  in  it  there  was  a  long  letter  to 
you  ;  and  because  you  did  not  receive  it,  you  wrangle 
with  me  about  the  postmen.  But  don't  irritate 
me,  though  you  are  tall  and  I  short. 

'  Your  next  sentence  gives  me  sad  news,  which 
nips  my  jokes  in  the  bud.  Are  there  indeed  such 
troubles  in  Flanders?  Has  the  peril  reached  to 
the  English  College?  How  far?  Are  they  to  be 
driven  out  ?  Let  them  be  driven  anywhere  but  into 
their  own  country.  What  is  it  to  us,  to  whom 
England  is  imprisonment,  the  rest  of  the  world 
transportation  !  Be  of  good  cheer ;  this  storm  will 
drive  you  into  smooth  water. 

'  Make  the  most  of  Rome.     Do  you  see  the  dead 

corpse  of  that   Imperial  City  ?     What  in   this  life 

can   be    glorious,  if  such  wealth,  such   beauty,   has 

come  to  nothing  ?     But  what  men  have  stood  firm 

u  ii. 


BLESSED    EDMUND  CAMPION 


in  these  miserable  changes, — what  things  ?  The 
relics  of  the  saints — and  the  chair  of  the  Fisherman. 
What  a  work  of  Providence !  Why  is  Heaven 
neglected  for  worldly  glory,  when  we  see  with  our 
own  eyes  that  not  even  on  earth  have  the  rulers 
of  earth  been  able  to  preserve  these  monuments  of 
their  vanity,  these  trophies  of  their  folly  !  What 
will  this  smoke  seem  in  the  ether  of  Heaven,  when 
it  so  soon  blows  away  in  the  atmosphere  of  earth  ? 
How  will  angels  laugh  when  even  men  mock  ? 

"But     y\av/cas    els    'AO^vas.       It     is     'carrying 
coals  to   Newcastle  '  to   write   such   things   to  you. 
For  your  whole  letter  breathes  a  noble  spirit ;  your 
story,  your  hopes,  and  your   requests  set  me  in    a 
blaze  at  all  points.     Nor  is  this  the  first  time  ;    all 
your  letters   show   with  what   prudence,  with  what 
Christian  love,  you  love  me,  when  you   so  heartily 
congratulate   me  on  the  state  of  life  which   I  have 
embraced,  though  it    places  so  strong  a  barrier  to 
our   union.     This   is   real   friendship.     I    remember 
too   how   earnestly  you   called   me   from   Ireland  to 
Douay,  how  you  admonished  me,  and  how  effective 
were  your  words.  .   .  .  What  you  foretold  is  fulfilled. 
I  live  in  affluence,  and  yet  I   have  nothing ;    and   I 
would  not  exchange  the  hardships  of  my  Institute  for 
the  realm  of  England.     If  our  tears  are  worth  all 
this,  what  are  our  consolations  worth  ?  And  they  are 
quite  numberless  and  above  all  measure.    So,  as  you 
rejoice  with  me,  you  may  go  on  rejoicing,  for  what  I 
have  found  is  indeed  most  joyful.  As  for  your  praises, 
I  pray  you,  my  dear  Father,  to  commend  my  soul  to 
God    in    your   Sacrifices  that    it    may  become    less 


BLESSED   EDMUND   CAMPION  307 

unworthy  of  your  praise.  This  is  the  sum — since 
for  so  many  years  we  had  in  common  our  college, 
our  meals,  our  studies,  our  opinions,  our  fortune, 
our  degrees,  our  tutors,  our  friends  and  our  enemies, 
let  us  for  the  rest  of  our  lives  make  a  more  close  and 
binding  union,  that  we  may  have  the  fruit  of  our 
friendship  in  Heaven.  There  also  I  will,  if  I  can, 
sit  at  your  feet." 

Campion  had  long  cherished  the  hope  of 
returning  to  England  as  a  missioner  of  the  true 
Faith,  and  his  desire  was  now  to  be  gratified. 
Dr.  Allen  begged  the  Pope  and  the  General  of 
the  Society  to  send  some  Jesuits  to  England,  and 
it  was  determined  that  Campion  and  Persons  should 
be  the  first  to  go.  Whilst  the  General  wrote  officially 
to  Campion's  Superiors,  Dr.  Allen  conveyed  the 
message  to  our  martyr  in  the  following  beautiful 
letter : 

"  Rome,  the  5th  of  December,  1579. 
'  My  father,  brother,  son,  Edmund  Campion, 
for  to  you  I  must  use  every  expression  of  the 
tenderest  ties  of  love,— Since  the  General  of  your 
Order,  and  he,  as  I  take  it,  speaks  for  Christ 
Himself,  calls  you  from  Prague  to  Rome  and  thence 
to  our  own  England  ;  since  your  brethren  after  the 
flesh  call  upon  you  (for  though  you  hear  not  their 
words,  God  has  heard  and  granted  their  prayers), 
I  who  am  so  closely  connected  with  them,  with  you, 
and  with  our  common  country,  both  in  the  world 
and  in  the  Lord,  must  not  be  the  only  one  to  keep 


3o8  BLESSED   EDMUND   CAMPION 

silence,  when  I  should  be  first  to  desire  you,  to  call 
you,  to  cry  to  you.  .  .  .  Make  all  haste  and  come, 
my  dearest  Campion  ;  you  have  done  enough 
at  Prague  towards  remedying  the  evils  that  our 
countrymen  inflicted  upon  Bohemia.  It  will  be 
dutiful,  religious  and  Christian  in  you  to  devote  the 
rest  of  your  life  and  some  part  of  your  extraordinary 
gifts  to  our  beloved  country,  which  has  the  greatest 
need  of  your  labours  in  Christ. 

"  I  do  not  stay  to  inquire  what  your  wish  and 
inclination  may  be,  since  it  is  your  happiness  to  live, 
by  the  will  of  others,  not  by  your  own ;  and  you  would 
not  shrink  from  the  greatest  perils  or  the  farthest 
Indies  if  your  Superior  bade  you  go.  Our  harvest 
is  already  great  in  England  ;  ordinary  labourers  are 
not  enough ;  more  practised  men  are  wanted,  but 
chiefly  you  and  others  of  your  Order.  The  General 
has  yielded  to  all  our  prayers ;  the  Pope,  the  true 
father  of  our  country,  has  consented  ;  and  God  in 
whose  hand  are  the  issues,  has  at  last  granted  that 
our  own  Campion,  with  all  his  gifts  of  wisdom 
and  with  increased  gifts  of  grace,  should  be  restored 
to  us.  Prepare  yourself  then  for  a  journey,  for  a 
work,  for  a  trial.  You  will  have  an  excellent 
colleague.  And  '  though  they  still  live  who  sought 
the  Child's  life,'  yet  '  a  door  is  open  for  you  in  the 
Lord.'  It  is  not  I  that  am  preparing  for  you  and 
your  Order  the  place  in  England  that  your  soul 
presaged,  but  it  is  you,  I  hope,  who  will  procure  for 
me  and  mine  the  power  of  returning.  .  .  ." 

Father    Persons  thus    describes  the    advent    in 


BLESSED   EDMUND   CAMPION  309 

Bohemia   of  the   summons   to   England,   and    what 
followed  thereupon. 

"  As  soon  as  ever  the  Rector  of  Prague  had 
intimated  the  General's  order  unto  him,  he,  taking 
it  as  coming  from  God  Himself,  smiling  to  the 
Rector,  said  that  he  did  accept  the  citation,  and 
would  make  his  appearance  as  he  was  commanded  ; 
and  being  scarce  able  to  hold  tears  for  joy  and 
tenderness  of  heart  went  to  his  chamber,  and  there 
upon  his  knees  to  God  satisfied  his  appetite  of 
weeping  and  thanksgiving,  and  offered  himself 
wholly  to  His  divine  disposition  without  any 
exception  or  restraint,  whether  it  were  to  rack, 
cross,  quartering,  or  any  other  torment  or  death 
whatsoever. 

"  After  this  he  asked  leave  of  his  Rector  to 
bestow  and  distribute  among  certain  peculiar 
scholars  and  fellows  of  his  that  remained  in  Prague, 
some  dictates  and  writings  that  he  had  gathered 
there,  and  some  few  others  he  carried  with  him  to 
Italy,  and  there  gave  them  also  away;  and  with 
these  and  with  his  breviary  only  he  took  his  journey 
on  foot  to  Rome,  being  not  much  less  distant  than 
his  other  journey  afterward  from  Rome  to  England. 
And  surely  I  remember  he  came  after  so  venerable 
a  manner  to  Rome  as  he  might  move  devotion,  for 
he  came  in  grave  priest's  garb,  with  long  hair  after 
the  fashion  of  Germany,  and  he  served  God  so 
earnestly  upon  the  way,  and  commended  the  success 
of  his  journey  with  so  great  instance  and  devotion 
unto  Him,  as  it  was  not  hard  to  prognosticate  what 
was  like  to  ensue  of  the  same. 


3io  BLESSED  EDMUND   CAMPION 

"Yea,  not  only  now,  but  before  he  departed  out  of 
Prague  there  happened  this.  [The  night  before 
Father  Campion  left  Prague,  a  certain  Father  James 
Gall,  a  Silesian  and  a  very  simple  soul,  who  was 
reputed  to  have  ecstasies,  wrote  over  the  door  of 
Campion's  cell,  P.  Edmundus  Campianus,  Martyr. 
He  was  reprimanded  next  day  for  his  breach  of 
discipline,  and  excused  himself  by  saying  that  he 
had  felt  impelled  to  act  as  he  had  done.] 

"  Father  Campion's  arrival  in  Rome  was  in  the 
year  1580,  upon  the  Passion  Week,  and  after  he  had 
been  with  his  General  and  understood  his  mind 
about  the  journey  to  England,  and  that  it  should  be 
immediately  after  the  octave  of  Easter,  he  made 
instant  suit  that,  seeing  the  time  was  so  short,  he 
might  be  distracted  with  no  other  thing  or  cogitation, 
but  only  to  commend  himself  to  God,  and  visit  the 
holy  places  of  the  city,  and  prepare  himself  for  the 
voyage.  In  which  voyage  and  mission  he  desired 
most  earnestly  and  humbly  that  he  might  be  charged 
with  no  temporal  care  or  solicitude  in  the  world, 
either  to  be  superior  to  other,  or  to  provide  for  meat 
and  drink  or  the  like,  but  that  he  might  be  left 
alone  to  his  prayers,  and  to  preach  and  teach  when 
occasion  should  be  offered.  And  this  point  he 
urged  so  far  forth,  and  showed  so  hearty  an  aversion 
from  meddling  with  the  same,  as  it  was  the  cause 
that  the  charge  of  the  mission  was  laid  upon  his 
fellow  [i.e.,  Father  Persons  himself] ,  though  of  less 
age,  standing  in  religion,  and  ability  than  himself. 

"  Now,  then,  when  Father  Campion  saw  himself 
freed  from  all  other  care  and  cogitation,   but  only 


BLESSED   EDMUND   CAMPION  311 

to  attend  to  his  devotion,  he  took  his  fill  thereof; 
and  in  those  fifteen  or  twenty  days  that  he  stayed  in 
Rome  he  went  every  day  to  pray  and  say  Mass  in 
different  churches  where  Apostles'  and  Saints' bodies 
lay.  And  the  like  did  for  their  part,  and  had  done 
all  the  Lent  before,  those  other  priests  also  of  the 
English  Seminary  that  were  appointed  by  their 
Superiors  to  go  with  us  in  this  first  mission.  .  .  . 
Two  of  the  principal  were  Mr.  Ralph  Sherwin  and 
Mr.  Luke  Kirby,  that  afterwards  were  fellows  to 
Father  Campion  in  glorious  martyrdom.  All  these, 
I  say,  together  used  such  notable  and  extraordinary 
diligence  for  preparing  themselves  well  in  the  sight 
of  God,  and  to  obtain  His  holy  grace  and  the 
assistance  of  His  blessed  saints  for  this  mission,  as 
was  matter  of  edification  to  all  Rome.  .  .  . 

"  He  went  very  badly  apparelled  (as  I  have 
before  signified),  to  wit,  with  old  buckram  under  a 
bare  cloak,  and  this  of  his  own  choice,  for  he  would 
say,  that  to  him  that  went  to  be  hanged  in  England, 
any  kind  of  apparel  was  sufficient.  He  took  unto 
himself  for  this  journey  the  name  of  his  old 
protector  in  Ireland,  by  which  he  escaped  before, 
which  was  of  St.  Patrick,  apostle  of  that  country, 
recommending  himself  most  devoutly  unto  him ; 
and  so  kept  the  same  until  he  was  ready  to  enter 
England,  at  what  time  he  was  persuaded  to  leave 
it  in  respect  of  the  new  troubles  raised  in  that 
country  by  Dr.  Sander's  arrival  there,  for  which 
occasion  he  might  be  suspected  or  called  perhaps 
in  question  for  an  Irishman,  if  he  continued  that 
name,  whereupon  he  left  it  and  called  himself 


3i2  BLESSED   EDMUND   CAMPION 

Edmonds,  in  remembrance  of  St.  Edmund,  King 
and  Martyr  of  England,  whom  he  desired  to 
imitate. 

"The  manner  of  the  whole  journey  was  that 
one  or  two  only  were  charged  with  the  care  of 
providing  victuals  upon  the  way,  so  that  all  the  rest 
might  the  better  attend  unto  their  devotions.  In 
the  morning,  after  the  Itinerarium  said,  each  man 
had  his  time  allotted  for  their  meditations  and 
mental  prayer,  and  after  that  to  say  their  service  of 
the  Breviary  and  other  devotions  as  each  man 
would,  and  where  commodity  of  church  and  of 
other  things  necessary  was  offered,  there  either  all, 
or  as  many  of  the  priests  as  could,  or  at  least  some 
one  for  all  the  rest,  said  Mass. 

"  After  dinner  also,  besides  their  ordinary  service 
of  Evensong,  Compline,  and  Matins  for  the  next 
day,  they  had  their  several  times  appointed  for 
saying  their  rosary  or  their  beads  and  divers  sorts 
of  litanies,  and  towards  night  the  examen  of  their 
conscience,  which  every  man  did  with  so  great  care 
and  diligence  as  men  that  supposed  that  within  very 
few  days  after  they  might  chance  to  see  themselves 
before  the  judgment-seat  of  Almighty  God;  seeing 
they  knew  the  entertainment  which  they  were  like 
to  receive  in  their  country  if  they  were  appre 
hended,  and  for  this  cause,  to  prepare  themselves 
the  better  to  this  event,  the  book  which  they  most 
read  and  conferred  of  upon  the  way  was  St.  Luke's 
story  of  the  Acts  of  the  Apostles. 

"  But  Father  Campion,  among  all  the  rest,  had  a 
fashion  to  leave  the  rest  of  the  company  every 


BLESSED   EDMUND   CAMPION  313. 

morning  after  the  Itinerarium  was  said,  and  'to  get 
him  before  the  space  of  some  half-mile  or  more  to 
the  end  he  might  with  more  freedom  make  his 
prayers  alone,  and  utter  his  zealous  affections  unto 
his  Saviour  without  being  heard  or  noted  by  his 
fellows.  And  this  he  used  throughout  all  the  way, 
which  endured  more  than  a  month,  and  would  not 
suffer  himself  to  be  overtaken  until  he  had  fully 
finished  his  devotions,  which  was  commonly  some 
hour  before  dinner;  and  then  he  would  stay  to  go 
in  company  with  the  rest,  and  would  be  so  merry 
and  talk  of  suffering  for  Christ  with  such  comfort 
(for  of  this  point  commonly  was  the  subject  of 
their  talk)  as  a  man  might  easily  perceive  with 
whom  he  had  had  conversation  in  his  prayers 
before.  .  .  . 

"[At  Bologna  the  party  was  hospitably  received 
by  Cardinal  Paleotto,  and]  the  very  like  courtesy 
and  kind  entertainment  had  we  also  afterward  of 
the  good  Cardinal  [i.e.,  St.  Charles]  Borromeo,  Arch 
bishop  of  Milan,  whose  rare  sanctity  is  sufficiently 
known  to  the  whole  world.  He  received  us,  I  say, 
all  into  his  house  and  detained  us  with  him  for 
divers  days,  had  sundry  learned  and  most  godly 
speeches  with  us  tending  to  the  contempt  of  this 
world  and  perfect  zeal  of  Christ  Kis  service; 
whereof  we  saw  so  rare  an  example  in  himself, 
and  his  austere  and  laborious  life,  being  nothing  in 
effect  but  skin  and  bone  through  continual  pains, 
fasting,  and  penance,  as  without  saying  any  word  he 
preached  to  us  sufficiently,  so  as  we  departed  from 
him  greatly  edified  and  exceedingly  animated.  .  .  ." 


3I4  BLESSED   EDMUND   CAMPION 

Then  they  pushed  on  by  Turin,  and  across 
Mont  Cenis  for  Geneva.  There  they  called  on 
Beza.  The  door  was  opened  by  Candida  his  so- 
called  wife,  whom  he  had  run  away  with  from  her 
husband  in  Paris.  After  much  difficulty  she  con 
sented  to  bring  them  in.  Beza  appeared  in  his  long 
black  gown,  round  cap,  and  fair  long  beard  ;  he 
saluted  them  courteously  but  did  not  offer  them  a 
seat.  They  questioned  him  on  the  subject  of 
religion,  and  Campion  who  was  then  disguised  as 
a  servant,  "  faced  out  the  heretical  old  fool,"  says 
Sherwin,  by  asking  him  to  explain  the  unity  of  the 
Swiss  and  English  religions,  seeing  their  difference 
on  such  important  points  as  the  Sacraments.  Beza 
soon  thought  his  best  plan  was  to  bow  them  out, 
which  he  accordingly  did.  They  left  Geneva  the  next 
day,  saying  a  Te  Deum  for  their  escape  from  that 
"  miserable "  city,  and  finally  reached  Rheims  on 
May  the  3ist,  after  a  journey  of  nearly  six  weeks. 

The  whole  party  was  received  with  enthusiasm, 
"  and  especially  Father  Campion  was  exceeding 
welcome  both  to  Mr.  Dr.  Allen,  the  President,  and 
to  all  the  rest,  for  that  he  had  been  one  of  them 
before  in  Douay,  and  they  had  not  seen  him  now 
for  the  full  space  of  eight  years  or  more,  so  as  there 
was  no  end  of  their  embracing  and  welcoming  the 
good  man  ;  and  so  much  the  more,  for  that  he  came 
now  for  so  holy  and  honourable  a  cause,  though 
environed  with  more  difficulties  than  we  had  yet 
heard  of." 

There  were  many  points  about  the  mission  to 
be  discussed  with  Allen.  Persons  thus  describes  one, 


BLESSED  EDMUND  CAMPION  3I5 

which  concerned  our  martyr  in  particular.     Father 
Campion  went  to  the  President  and  said  : 

'  Well,  sir,  here  now  I  am.  You  have  desired 
my  going  to  England,  and  I  am  come  a  long 
journey,  as  you  see,  from  Prague  to  Rome  and  from 
Rome  hither.  Do  you  think  my  labours  in  England 
may  countervail  with  all  this  travail,  as  also  my 
absence  from  Bohemia,  where,  though  I  did  not 
much,  yet  I  was  not  idle  nor  unemployed,  and  yet 
also  against  heretics  ?  ' 

"  Whereunto  the  President  answered  : 

'  My  good  Father,  your  labours  in  Bemeland, 
though  I  do  not  doubt  they  were  very  profitable, 
yet  do  I  imagine  that  another  man  of  your  Society 
may  supply  the  same,  [or]  at  least  two  or  three. 
But  towards  of  England,  I  hope  verily  that  Almighty 
God  will  give  you  strength  and  grace  to  supply  for 
many  men,  and  seeing  that  your  obligation  is  greater 
towards  that  country  than  towards  any  other,  and 
the  necessity  of  help  more  urgent,  and  the  talents 
that  God  has  given  you  more  fit  and  proper  for 
that  than  for  any  other  land,  doubt  you  not  but 
all  is  Christ's  holy  providence  for  the  best,  and  so 
be  you  of  good  comfort.' 

"  '  As  for  me,'  said  Father  Campion,  '  all  is  one  ; 
and  I  hope  I  am  and  shall  be  ever  indifferent  for 
all  nations  and  functions,  whereinsoever  my  Superiors 
under  God  shall  employ  me.  I  have  made  a  free 
oblation  of  myself  to  His  Divine  Majesty  both  for  life 
and  death,  and  I  trust  that  He  will  give  me  grace 
and  force  to  perform,  and  this  is  all  I  desire.'  " 


3i 6  BLESSED   EDMUND  CAMPION 

Whilst  at  Rheims,  Campion  preached  to  the 
students  on  the  text :  Ignem  veni  mittere  in  terram— 
"  I  am  come  to  send  fire  upon  the  earth."  His  words 
were  filled  with  a  loving  enthusiasm,  and  he  cried 
out  "  fire,  fire,  fire  "  so  vehemently,  describing  the  zeal 
for  martyrdom,  that  passers-by  thought  there  was 
a  conflagration,  and  were  going  to  fetch  water- 
buckets  to  put  it  out. 

From  Rheims,  Persons  and  Campion  went  to 
St.  Omers,  and  disguised  themselves  for  their 
passage  to  England  ;  Persons  as  a  soldier  returning 
from  the  Low  Countries,  and  Campion  as  a 
merchant  of  jewels.  Persons  reached  London  via 
Calais  and  Dover,  without  serious  difficulty,  and 
found  shelter  with  Mr.  George  Gilbert  and  his 
friends.  Of  Campion's  state  of  mind  at  St.  Omers, 
where  he  was  awaiting  news  of  Persons,  the 
following  letter  tells  us.  It  is  addressed  by  him 
to  Everard  Mercurian,  the  General  of  the  Society  : 

"Father  Robert  [Persons]  with  George,  his 
companion,  sailed  from  Calais  after  midnight  on 
the  day  before  I  began  writing  this ;  the  wind 
was  very  good,  so  we  hope  that  he  reached  Dover 
some  time  yesterday  morning,  the  i6th  of  June. 
He  was  dressed  up  like  a  soldier ;  such  a  peacock, 
such  a  swagger,  that  a  man  must  needs  have  very 
sharp  eyes  to  catch  a  glimpse  of  holiness  and 
modesty  shrouded  beneath  such  a  garb,  such  a  look, 
such  a  strut.  Yet  our  minds  cannot  but  misgive 
us  when  we  hear  all  men,  I  will  not  say  whispering, 
but  crying  the  news  of  our  coming.  It  is  a  venture 


BLESSED   EDMUND   CAMPION  3i? 

which  only  the  wisdom  of  God   can  bring  to  good, 
and   to   His   wisdom  we   lovingly  resign   ourselves. 
According  to  orders,  I  have  stayed  behind  fora  time 
to  try,  if  possible,  to  fish  some   news   about  Father 
Robert's  success  out  of  the  carriers,  or  out  of  certain 
merchants  who   are  to   come  to  these   parts,  before 
I  sail  across.     If  I  hear  anything  I  will  advise  upon 
it ;  but  in  any  case,  I  will  go  over  and  take  part  in 
the  fight,  though  I  die  for  it.     It  often  happens  that 
the  first  rank  of  a  conquering  army  is  struck  down. 
Indeed,  if  our  Society  is  to  go  on  with  this  adventure, 
the  ignorance   and  wickedness   against   which    this 
war  is  declared   will  have  to  be   overthrown.      On 
the   2oth   of  June   I   mean   to  go  to  Calais;    in  the 
meantime  I   live  in  the  College  of  St.  Omer,  where 
I    am    dressing    up    myself    and     my  companion, 
[Brother]    Ralph    [Emerson] .       You   may  imagine 
the  expense,   especially   as  none  of  our  old   things 
can   be  henceforth   used.     As  we   want  to   disguise 
our  persons  and   cheat  the  madness  of  this  world, 
we  are  obliged  to  buy    several    little  things  which 
seem  to   us  altogether  absurd.     Our  journey,  these 
clothes,  and  four  horses,  which  we  must  buy  as  soon 
as  we  reach  England,  may  possibly  square  with  our 
money;   but  only  with  the  help  of  Providence,  which 
multiplied  the  loaves  in  the  wilderness.  This  indeed 
is  our  least  difficulty,  so  let  us   have  done  with  it. 
I   will   not    yet   close   this    letter,  that   I    may  add 
whatever    news     reaches    me     during    these     three 
days.       For  though  our  lot  will  be  cast,  one  way 
or  other,  before  you  read  this,  yet  I  thought  that, 
while  I  am  here,  I  ought  to  note  every  particular  of 


3I8  BLESSED   EDMUND   CAMPION 

this  great  business,  and  the  last  doings  on  which 
the  rest,  as  yet  unwritten,  will  hang.  A  certain 
English  gentleman  very  well  informed  in  matters 
of  State,  often  comes  to  me  ;  and  he  tells  me  that 
the  coming  of  the  Bishop  of  St.  Asaph  is  canvassed 
in  letters  and  in  conversation.  Great  expectations 
are  raised  by  it ;  for  most  men  think  that  such  a 
man,  at  his  age,  would  never  undertake  such  a  task, 
except  there  was  some  rising  on  foot.  I  told  him  in 
the  simplest  manner  the  true  cause  of  his  coming. 
Still  he  did  not  cease  wondering;  for  the  episcopal 
name  and  function  is  in  high  honour  in  England." 

On  June  the  24th,  the  feast  of  his  patron, 
St.  John  the  Baptist,  Campion  finally  reached 
Dover,  where  he  and  his  lay-brother  companion, 
Ralph  Emerson,  were  at  once  seized,  by  order  of  the 
mayor,  who  had  received  instructions  and  was  on 
the  watch  for  them.  Campion,  however,  fervently 
implored  the  aid  of  his  patron  St.  John,  and  they 
were  eventually  allowed  to  proceed. 

Father  Persons  continues :  "  Being  so  happily 
and  unexpectedly  delivered  from  Dover,  he  made 
all  the  haste  he  could  to  come  to  London,  where 
he  was  greatly  desired,  and  much  prayer  was 
made  for  him.  The  greatest  solicitude  was  how 
he  would  do  at  his  first  arrival,  for  that  he  knew  not 
where  to  go,  and  with  the  same  care  came  he  also, 
what  to  do  in  that  behalf.  But  God  provided  better 
for  him  herein  than  he  could  possibly  imagine,  for 
coming  to  land  upon  the  Thames  side  at  London, 
there  was  there,  by  God's  providence,  a  certain 


BLESSED   EDMUND   CAMPION  3Ig 

Catholic  that  partly  by  his  person  and  apparel, 
described  to  him  before  by  Father  Persons,  and 
partly  by  that  he  saw  him  accompanied  by  a  little 
man  named  Ralph  Emerson,  whereof  also  Father 
Persons  had  given  knowledge,  he  did  suspect  him 
to  be  the  same  man,  and  so,  stepping  to  the  boat- 
side,  said,  '  Mr.  Edmonds  (for  so  he  was  called),  give 
me  your  hand.  I  stay  here  for  you  to  lead  you  to 
your  friends.'  With  which  speech  Father  Campion 
was  wonderfully  comforted." 

Father  Persons  had  by  then  already  left  London, 
and  Campion  on  June  the  2gth,  the  feast  of  SS.  Peter 
and    Paul,   boldly  preached   in   the    great   hall   of   a 
house  near  Smithfield,  which  Lord  Paget  had  hired 
of  Lord    Norreys,  while  gentlemen    kept   watch  as 
servants  and  porters.     This  sermon  attracted  some 
notice,    and    made    the    Council    eager    to    appre 
hend  him.     Campion  therefore  confined   himself  to 
private    conferences    and     constantly  changed     his 
abode,    but    even    this   became   unsafe  ;     and    after 
Hilary  Term,  1580,  both  he  and  Persons,  who  had 
now  returned  to   London,   resolved   on   making  for 
the   country.     At  Hoxton,   before  parting  for  their 
separate   missions,  Campion,   at    the  instigation   of 
Mr.  Thomas    Pound,   a   Catholic    prisoner    for   the 
Faith,    who    had    obtained    a    temporary    absence 
from  the   Marshalsea,  wrote   an  open  letter  to  the 
Council,  in  the  form  of  a  public  vindication  of  the 
presence  and   purpose  of   the   Jesuits    in    England. 
Though  not  intended  for  publication,  Pound   let   it 
go  abroad  in  manuscript,  and  it  soon  became  widely 


320  BLESSED   EDMUND   CAMPION 

known  as  Campion's  "  Brag  and  Challenge."  It  was 
composed  in  haste,  in  less  than  an  hour  and  a  half; 
but  is  so  pithy  in  substance  and  in  style,  that  its 
appearance  produced  dismay  among  Protestants,  and 
gave  great  joy  to  Catholics. 

The  chief  points  of  the  document,  which  is 
drawn  up  under  nine  heads,  are  as  follows  :  That 
Campion,  now  eight  years  a  member  of  the  Society, 
had  come  to  England  simply  under  obedience,  with 
no  hope  of  gain  or  preferment,  to  preach  the  Gospel, 
minister  the  Sacraments,  and  convert  sinners  ;  that 
he  was  strictly  forbidden  to  deal  in  any  way  with 
politics,  and  only  asked  for  three  public  discussions. 
The  first  before  the  Lords  in  Council,  on  the 
relation  of  the  Catholic  Church  to  the  Government ; 
the  second,  of  which  he  made  most  account,  before 
the  leading  Masters  of  the  Universities,  on  the 
proofs  of  the  Catholic  religion,  which  he  undertook 
to  demonstrate  invincibly ;  the  third,  before  the 
lawyers  spiritual  and  temporal ;  "  wherein  he  could 
justify  the  Faith  by  the  common  wisdom  of  the 
laws  "  then  existing. 

Though  unwilling  to  say  anything  that  "  might 
sound  of  an  insolent  brag  or  challenge,"  and  being 
himself  dead  to  the  world,  and  willing  to  cast  his 
head  under  any  man's  foot,  and  to  kiss  the  ground 
he  treads  on,  yet  was  the  writer  so  sure  of  the 
truth  of  his  faith  that  he  only  asked  to  meet  at 
once  any  of  the  most  learned  Protestants,  who 
would  enter  the  lists  with  him.  He  begged  the 
Queen,  Elizabeth,  his  "  sovereign  lady,"  to  attend  at 
the  conferences  he  had  demanded,  and  to  allow 


BLESSED  EDMUND   CAMPION  321 

him  to  preach  in  her  presence.  He  doubted  not 
but  that  the  Lords  of  the  Council  would,  when  they 
had  heard  him  preach,  see  through  the  evil  counsel 
by  which  they  were  misled.  He  concludes  with  the 
following  impassioned  words  : 

"  Many  innocent  hands  are  lifted  up  for  you 
daily  and  hourly  by  those  English  students  whose 
posterity  shall  not  die,  which  beyond  the  seas, 
gathering  virtue  and  sufficient  knowledge  for  the 
purpose,  are  determined  never  to  give  you  over, 
but  either  to  win  you  to  Heaven  or  to  die  upon  your 
pikes.  And  touching  our  Society,  be  it  known 
unto  you  that  we  have  made  a  league — all  the 
Jesuits  in  the  world,  whose  succession  and  multitude 
must  over-reach  all  the  practices  of  England— 
cheerfully  to  carry  the  cross  that  you  shall  lay  upon 
us,  and  never  to  despair  your  recovery  while  we 
have  a  man  left  to  enjoy  your  Tyburn,  or  to  be  racked 
with  your  torments,  or  to  be  consumed  with  your 
prisons.  The  expense  is  reckoned,  the  enterprise 
is  begun  ;  it  is  of  God,  it  cannot  be  withstood.  So 
the  Faith  was  planted,  so  it  must  be  restored. 

"  If  these  my  offers  be  refused,  and  my  en 
deavours  can  take  no  place,  and  I  having  run 
thousands  of  miles  to  do  you  good,  shall  be  rewarded 
with  rigour, — I  have  no  more  to  say,  but  to  recom 
mend  your  case  and  mine  to  Almighty  God,  the 
Searcher  of  hearts,  Who  send  us  of  His  grace,  and 
set  us  accord  before  the  day  of  payment,  to  the 
intent  we  may  at  last  be  friends  in  Heaven,  where 
all  injuries  shall  be  forgotten." 

v  ii. 


322  BLESSED  EDMUND  CAMPION 

This  simple,  ingenuous,  and  fearless  manifesto 
made  no  little  stir,  and  fresh  repressive  measures 
were  taken.  The  prisons  were  crowded  with 
Catholics,  and  many  distinguished  sufferers  were 
consigned  to  Wisbeach  Castle.  The  chief  among 
these  were  Watson,  Bishop  of  Lincoln  ;  Feckenham, 
Abbot  of  Westminster ;  the  Earl  of  Southampton, 
Lord  Herbert,  Lord  Compton,  Lord  Paget,  Sir 
Thomas  Fitzherbert,  Sir  John  Arundell,  Sir  Alexander 
Culpeper,  Sir  John  Southworth,  Sir  Nicholas  Poyntz, 
Sir  Thomas  Gerard,  Sir  George  Peckham,  John 
Talbot  of  Grafton,  William  and  Richard  Shelly, 
Ralph  Sheldon,  Thomas  and  Francis  Throgmorton, 
John  and  Edward  Gage,  Nicholas  Thimbleby, 
William  and  Robert  Tyrrwhit,  Richard  Culpeper, 
John  Walker,  Mr.  Towneley,  Mr.  Guildford,  Robert 
Price,  Peter  Tichbourne,  Erasmus  Wolseley,  John 
Gifford,  Brian  Fowler,  Thomas  Cross.  Of  their 
treatment  at  this  time  a  priest  writes  : 

"  In  their  old  age  they  are  sent  to  Wisbeach 
Castle,  a  most  unhealthy  place,  under  the  orders 
of  a  sour  Puritan.  It  is  certain  they  cannot  live 
long  there.  Over  and  above  the  miseries  of  im 
prisonment,  they  are  shamefully  treated  by  their 
keeper.  All  books  but  a  single  Bible  are  taken  from 
them,  nor  are  they  allowed  any  papers  of  their  own 
writings  or  notes.  Conceited  ministers  are  let  in  on 
them  without  warning,  with  whom  they  must  argue 
without  preparation,  or  endure  their  insults.  The 
most  false  and  ridiculous  libels  upon  them  are 
published  and  even  printed,  in  order  to  lessen  the 


BLESSED   EDMUND   CAMPION  323 

consideration  in  which  they  are  held.  Last  month 
an  immodest  woman  was  shut  up  without  their 
knowledge  in  one  of  their  chambers  to  give  a  handle 
for  a  false  charge  of  incontinence.  No  access  is 
allowed,  and  we  are  obliged  to  use  tricks  to  com 
municate  with  them.  When  any  one  wants  to  give 
them  an  alms,  he  walks  in  the  neighbouring  fields 
and  cries  out,  as  if  he  was  hunting  for  game.  At 
this  sign  one  of  them  looks  out  of  the  window,  and 
learns  by  signal  that  there  is  something  for  the 
prisoners.  The  next  night,  when  everybody  is 
asleep,  the  sportsman  cautiously  creeps  up  to  the 
wall,  and  one  of  the  prisoners  lets  down  a  basket 
from  the  window  whence  the  signal  was  given,  and 
draws  up  what  is  put  into  it.  The  same  plan  is 
generally  adopted  for  the  other  prisons,  but  the 
variety  of  places  requires  a  variety  of  methods,  and 
the  zeal,  charity,  and  bravery  of  the  Catholics  is 
greatly  conspicuous  in  designing  and  accomplishing 
these  dangerous  services."  1 

While  the  persecution  was  in  progress,  Campion 
was  working  with  success  in  Berkshire,  Oxfordshire, 
and  Northamptonshire.  Among  his  more  notable 
converts  were  Sir  Thomas  Tresham  of  Rushton, 
Sir  William  Catesby  of  Ashby  St.  Ledger,  and  Lord 
Vaux  of  Harrowden.  Persons'  harvest  was  equally 
rich,  and  included  John  Shakespeare,  the  father  of 
the  poet.  Campion  wrote  as  follows  to  his  Father 
General  about  his  manner  of  life,  and  the  state  of 
the  country  at  this  period. 

1  Quoted  in  Sander,  De  Schismate  (Edit.  1628),  p.  317. 


324  BLESSED   EDMUND   CAMPION 

"  I  ride  about  some  piece  of  the  country  every 
day.  The  harvest  is  wonderful  great.  On  horse 
back  I  meditate  my  sermon  ;  when  I  come  to  the 
house  I  polish  it.  Then  I  talk  with  such  as  come 
to  speak  with  me,  or  hear  their  confessions.  In 
the  morning,  after  Mass,  I  preach  ;  they  hear  with 
exceeding  greediness  and  very  many  go  to  the 
sacraments,  for  the  ministration  whereof  we  are  ever 
well  assisted  by  the  priests,  whom  we  find  in  every 
place,  whereby  both  the  people  is  well  served  and 
we  much  eased  in  our  charge.  The  priests  of  our 
country  themselves  being  most  excellent  for  virtue 
and  learning,  yet  have  raised  so  great  an  opinion  of 
our  Society  that  I  dare  scarcely  touch  the  exceeding 
reverence  all  Catholics  do  unto  us.  How  much 
more  is  it  requisite  that  those  who  hereafter  are  to 
be  sent  for  supply,  whereof  we  have  great  need,  be 
such  as  may  answer  all  men's  expectations  of  them  ! 
Specially  let  them  be  well  trained  for  the  pulpit. 
I  cannot  long  escape  the  hands  of  the  heretics ;  the 
enemies  have  so  many  eyes,  so  many  tongues,  so 
many  scouts  and  crafts.  I  am  in  apparel  to  myself 
very  ridiculous;  I  often  change  it  and  my  name  also. 
I  read  letters  sometimes  myself  that,  in  the  first 
front,  tell  news  that  Campion  is  taken,  which  noised 
in  every  place  where  I  come,  so  filleth  my  ears  with 
the  sound  thereof,  that  fear  itself  hath  taken  away 
all  fear.  '  My  soul  is  ever  in  my  hands.'  Let 
such  as  you  send  for  supply  premeditate  and  make 
count  of  this  always.  Marry,  the  solaces  that  are 
ever  intermingled  with  these  miseries  are  so  great, 
that  they  do  not  only  countervail  the  fear  of  what 


BLESSED   EDMUND   CAMPION  325 

punishment  temporal  soever,  but  by  infinite  sweet 
ness  make  all  worldly  pains,  be  they  never  so  great, 
seem  nothing.  They  will  find  consciences  that  are 
pure,  courage  invincible,  zeal  incredible,  a  work  so 
worthy,  the  number  innumerable  of  every  age  and 
sex,  both  of  high  degree,  of  mean  calling,  and  of  the 
inferior  sort. 

"  Here  even  amongst  the  Protestants  themselves 
that  are  of  a  milder  nature,  it  is  turned  into  a 
proverb,  that  he  must  be  a  Catholic  that  payeth 
faithfully  what  he  oweth,  insomuch  that  if  any 
Catholic  do  injury,  everybody  expostulateth  with 
him  as  for  an  act  unworthy  of  men  of  that 
calling.  To  be  short,  heresy  heareth  ill  of  all  men  ; 
neither  is  there  any  condition  of  people  commonly 
counted  more  vile  and  impure  than  their  ministers, 
and  we  worthily  have  indignation,  that  fellows  so 
unlearned,  so  evil,  so  derided,  so  base,  should  in 
so  desperate  a  quarrel  over-rule  such  a  number  of 
noble  wits  as  our  realm  hath.  Threatening  edicts 
come  forth  against  us  daily ;  notwithstanding  by 
good  heed  and  the  prayers  of  good  men,  and,  which 
is  the  chief  of  all,  God's  special  gift,  we  have  passed 
safely  through  the  most  part  of  the  island.  I  find 
many  neglecting  their  own  security,  to  have  only 
care  of  my  safety. 

11  A  certain  matter  fell  out  these  days  unlooked 
for.  I  had  set  down  in  writing  by  several  articles 
the  causes  of  my  coming  in,  and  made  certain 
demands  most  reasonable.  I  professed  myself  to 
be  a  priest  of  the  Society;  that  I  returned  to  enlarge 
the  Catholic  Faith,  to  teach  the  Gospel,  to  minister 


3a6  BLESSED   EDMUND    CAMPION 

the  sacraments,  humbly  asking  audience  of  the 
Queen  and  the  nobility  of  the  realm,  and  proffering 
disputations  to  the  adversaries.  One  copy  of  this 
writing  I  determined  to  keep  with  me  ;  another  copy 
I  laid  in  a  friend's  hands,  that  when  myself  with  the 
other  should  be  seized,  another  might  thereupon 
straight  be  dispersed.  But  my  said  friend  kept  it 
not  close  long,  but  divulged  it,  and  it  was  read 
greedily  ;  whereat  the  adversaries  were  mad,  answer 
ing  out  of  the  pulpit,  that  themselves  certesse  would 
not  refuse  to  dispute,  but  the  Queen's  pleasure  was 
not  that  matters  should  be  called  in  question,  being 
already  established.  In  the  meanwhile  they  tear 
and  sting  us  with  their  venomous  tongues,  calling  us 
seditious,  hypocrites,  yea  heretics  too,  which  is  much 
laughed  at.  The  people  hereupon  is  ours,  and  that 
error  of  spreading  abroad  this  writing  has  much 
advanced  the  cause.  If  we  be  commanded  and  may 
have  safe  escort,  we  will  unto  the  court. 

"  But  they  mean  nothing  less,  for  they  have 
filled  all  the  old  prisons  with  Catholics,  and  now 
make  new ;  and  in  fine  plainly  affirm  that  it  were 
better  to  make  a  few  traitors  away,  than  that  so 
many  souls  should  be  lost.  Of  their  martyrs  they  brag 
no  more  now ;  for  it  is  now  come  to  pass  that  for 
a  few  apostates  and  cobblers  of  theirs  burnt,  we  have 
bishops,  lords,  knights,  the  old  nobility,  the  patterns 
of  learning,  piety,  and  prudence,  the  flower  of  the 
youth,  noble  matrons,  and  of  the  inferior  sort 
innumerable,  either  martyred  at  once,  or  by  con 
suming  prisonment  dying  daily.  At  the  very  writing 
hereof  the  persecution  rages  most  cruelly.  The 


BLESSED   EDMUND   CAMPION  327 


house  where  I  am  is  sad  ;  no  other  talk  but  of 
death,  flight,  prison,  or  spoil  of  their  friends;  never 
theless  they  proceed  with  courage.  Very  many 
even  at  this  present  are  being  restored  to  the 
Church,  new  soldiers  give  up  their  names  while 
the  veterans  offer  their  blood  ;  by  which  holy  hosts 
and  oblations  God  will  be  pleased,  and  we  shall,  no 
question,  by  Him  soon  overcome. 

"  You  see  now,  therefore,  Reverend  Father,  how 
much  need  we  have  of  your  prayers  and  Sacrifices, 
and  other  heavenly  help,  to  go  through  with  these 
things.  There  will  never  want  in  England  men  that 
will  have  care  of  their  own  salvation,  nor  such  as 
shall  advance  other  men's.  Neither  shall  this  Church 
here  ever  fail,  so  long  as  priests  and  pastors  shall 
be  found  for  their  sheep,  rage  man  or  devil  never  so 
much.  But  the  rumour  of  present  peril  causeth  Hit- 
here  to  make  an  end.  'Arise  God!  His  enemies 
avoid.'  Fare  you  well."1 

Father  Persons  gives  us  the  following  more 
detailed  description  of  the  missionary  journey 
through  England,  to  which  Campion  briefly  alluded 
above. 

"  It  was  not  long  after  our  departure  but  that 
the  Council,  by  their  spies  and  other  persons  whom 
they  apprehended,  had  notice  of  our  journey,  and 
presently  they  sent  divers  pursuivants  after  us  into 
most  shires  of  England,  with  large  authority  to 
apprehend  us  wheresoever  they  should  meet  with  us. 
1  No  date.  Probably  November,  1580. 


328  BLESSED  EDMUND  CAMPION 

But  we  had  always  warning  by  the  diligence  of  the 
Catholics,  so  as  we  easily  avoided  them,  and  they  lost 
their  labour  and  we  had  three  or  four  months  free 
to  follow  our  business,  in  which  space,  by  the  help 
and  direction  of  the  young  gentlemen  that  went 
with  us,  we  passed  through  the  most  part  of  the 
shires  of  England  preaching  and  administering 
the  sacraments  in  almost  every  gentleman  and 
nobleman's  house  that  we  passed  by,  whether  he 
himself  were  a  Catholic  or  no,  if  he  had  any 
Catholics  in  his  house  to  hear  us,  which  commonly 
was  in  manner  following. 

"  We  entered  for  the  most  part  as  acquaintance 
or  kinsfolk  of  some  person  that  lived  within  the 
house,  and  when  that  failed  us,  as  passengers  or 
friends  of  some  gentleman  that  accompanied  us, 
and  after  ordinary  salutations  we  had  our  lodging 
by  procurement  of  the  Catholics  within  the  house, 
in  some  part  retired  from  the  rest,  where  putting 
ourselves  in  priest's  apparel  and  furniture,  which 
ever  we  carried  with  us,  we  had  view  and  secret 
conference  with  the  Catholics  that  were  there,  or 
such  of  them  as  might  conveniently  come,  whom 
we  ever  caused  to  be  ready  for  that  night  late  to 
prepare  themselves  to  the  Sacrament  of  Confession, 
and  the  next  morning  very  early  we  had  Mass  and 
the  Blessed  Sacrament  ready  for  such  as  would 
communicate,  and  after  that  an  exhortation,  and 
then  we  made  ourselves  ready  to  depart  again,  and 
this  was  the  manner  of  providing  when  we  stayed 
least,  but  when  longer  and  more  liberal  and  full  stay 
was,  then  these  exercises  were  more  frequented." 


BLESSED   EDMUND   CAMPION  329 

Then,  after  describing  the  persecution  in  London, 
Persons  continues : 

"  While  these  things  were  doing  in  London, 
where  the  Court  lay,  Father  Campion  and  his 
fellows  proceeded  prosperously  in  their  affairs  in 
the  country ;  for  that  passing  over  many  shires  they 
confirmed  and  gained  to  the  Catholic  religion  very 
great  numbers  of  all  sorts  of  people,  whereunto  the 
most  part  of  all  such,  as  dwell  in  the  country 
abroad  (and  so  do  dwell  the  better  of  the  English 
nobility  and  gentry,  and  are  farther  off  from  great 
towns,  where  the  infection  of  ministers  beareth  most 
rule  with  artisans  and  merchants),  are  of  themselves 
more  inclined,  remembering  the  virtuous  life  and 
just  proceeding  of  those  of  the  ancient  religion,  and 
seeing  and  feeling  the  contrary  now.  Of  this  great 
concourse  and  proneness  of  people  to  be  converted, 
Father  Campion  in  his  epistle  to  his  General  giveth 
abundant  testimony.  And  one  thing  I  can  affirm 
of  my  certain  knowledge,  that,  as  it  was  a  most 
comfortable  thing  to  see  the  universal  inclination  of 
so  infinite  people  to  the  Catholic  religion,  so  was  it  an 
incredible  sorrow  and  compassion  to  any  Christian 
heart  to  see  the  rents  and  breaches,  the  wrenches 
and  disjointures,  which  the  preaching  of  new 
doctrines  for  twenty  years  had  made  in  the  con 
sciences  and  belief  of  this  good  people,  which  lived 
before  so  many  ages  in  one  only  faith." 

Of    the    result    of    Campion's    journey,    Father 
Persons  says : 


33o  BLESSED   EDMUND   CAMPION 

"  This  may  be  enough  to  show  how  profitable  to 
the  salvation  of  souls  and  serviceable  to  Almighty 
God  were  the  labours  of  His  servants  and  priests  in 
this  work.  For  many  of  them  that  were  furthest  run 
out  of  order  were  reduced  ;  others  that  were  not  gone 
so  far,  but  [were]  in  going,  were  stayed ;  others 
that  were  doubtful  were  resolved ;  others  that  were 
cold  and  negligent  and  seemed  to  care  little  for  any 
part,  were  stirred  up ;  others,  and  those  very  many, 
that  had  good  meaning  and  good  desire  also,  but 
were  oppressed  with  fear,  were  animated  and  put 
both  in  heart  and  comfort,  and  those  that  were  good 
of  themselves  were  much  confirmed.  And  in  these 
exercises  passed  Father  Campion  and  his  fellows 
their  time  in  the  country  with  preaching,  private 
conference,  exhortations,  writing  of  letters,  and 
administration  of  the  sacraments  until  the  month  of 
October,  at  what  time,  Michaelmas  being  begun,  it 
was  thought  convenient  that  they  should  meet  at 
London  again  to  take  further  order  about  their 
affairs,  especially  Father  Campion  and  Father 
Persons,  who  had  not  seen  the  one  the  other  since 
they  departed  from  London  in  the  beginning  of 

July. 

"  At  their  first  meeting  they  related,  the  one  to 
the  other,  the  mercies  that  God  had  showed  unto 
them  in  the  time  of  their  being  abroad  in  the 
country,  what  shires,  towns,  houses  they  had  visited, 
what  success  they  had  had,  what  perils  they  had 
escaped,  what  disposition  they  had  found  in  them 
selves  for  the  time  to  come.  And  secondly,  they 
consulted  what  course  was  to  be  held  for  the  time 


BLESSED   EDMUND   CAMPION  33I 

to  come,  wherein  they  resolved  that  Father  Persons 
for  the  present  should  stay  in  London,  or  near  about, 
as  the  persecution  and  necessity  of  business  should 
suffer,  for  that  it  seemed  he  was  less  sought  for  yet 
than  was  Father  Campion,  who  for  this  and  other 
causes,  especially  that  he  was  most  earnestly  desired 
in  divers  places,  was  thought  more  convenient  to 
return  again  into  the  country  until  the  present 
tempest  of  persecution  was  somewhat  assuaged  or 
blown  over.  This  being  so  agreed  upon,  the  next 
question  was  whither  and  to  what  shire  Father 
Campion  should  go,  for  divers  did  sue  for  him  most 
instantly,  as  hath  been  said,  but  above  other  the 
Catholics  of  Lancashire  and  Norfolk,  unto  which 
shires  he  had  not  time  or  commodity  to  reach  in  his 
former  circuit.  But  finally  it  seemed  best  that  he 
should  go  to  Lancashire  both  for  that  it  was  more 
distant  from  London,  and  more  generally  affected  to 
the  Catholic  religion,  and  for  that  there  was  more 
hope  to  find  commodity  of  books  for  him  to  write  or 
answer  the  heretics,  if  perhaps  they  should  provoke 
him,  as  it  was  supposed  they  would  shortly,  seeing 
that  his  foresaid  paper  of  satisfaction  and  challenge 
was  now  in  their  hands,  and  spread  over  England 
as  it  was,  and  no  other  talk  almost  at  ordinary 
tables  and  other  public  meetings  but  of  this. 
And  albeit  hitherto  nothing  appeared  in  answer 
thereof,  yet  seemed  it  impossible  but  that  shortly 
there  would  be.  For  all  which  causes  it  was  resolved 
that  Father  Campion  should  depart  again  out  of 
hand  and,  with  all  the  secrecy  that  he  could,  put 
himself  within  the  compass  of  Lancashire." 


332 


BLESSED  EDMUND   CAMPION 


Leaving  London  for  the  North,  Campion  spent 
Christmas  with  the  Pierrepoints  at  Thoresby  in 
Nottinghamshire.  Then  Henry  Sacheverell,  Mr. 
Langford,  Lady  Foljambe,  Mr.  Powdrell,  Mr.  Ayers 
or  Amias,  of  the  Stipte,  in  Derbyshire,  were  in  turn 
his  hosts.  At  the  Stipte  Mr.  Tempest  succeeded 
Gervase  Pierrepoint  as  Campion's  guide,  and  led 
him  to  Dr.  Vavasour,  Mrs.  Bulmer,  Sir  William 
Babthorpe,  of  Osgodby — who  had  the  previous 
August  given  a  bond  of  £200  that  he  and  his  family 
would  dutifully  repair  to  church,  and  apprehend 
"  all  rogueing  Popish  priests,  and  other  like  evil 
Popish  subjects" — Mr.  Grimston,  Mr.  Hawkeworth, 
and  Mr.  Askulph  Cleesby.  In  the  third  week  of 
Lent,  Mr.  Smythe  succeeded  as  conductor,  and  took 
him  to  the  house  of  his  brother-in-law,  Mr.  William 
Harrington,  of  Mount  St.  John,  near  Thirsk,  where 
one  of  the  host's  six  sons  was  so  fired  by  Campion's 
example,  that  he  went  over  to  Rheims  and  returned 
as  a  priest  to  be  martyred.1 

From  Mount  St.  John  he  was  conducted  by 
Mr.  Moore,  a  Yorkshireman,  to  the  houses  of 
Catholics  in  Lancashire — the  Talbots,  Southworths, 
Heskeths,  Worthingtons,  Mrs.  Allen  (widow  of  the 
Cardinal's  brother),  the  Houghtons,  the  Westbys, 
and  the  Rigmaidens. 

This  itinerary  is  supplied  by  Cecil's  papers, 
whose  spies  were  dogging  Campion's  steps.  Many 
came  to  hear  him,  and  persons  of  quality  spent 
whole  nights  in  barns,  so  that  they  might  be  early 

1  The  Ven.  William   Harrington  was  martyred  at  Tyburn  on 
February  18,  1594. 


BLESSED   EDMUND   CAMPION  333 

at  the  place  the  next  day.     "  Even  up  to  my  time," 
wrote    Father    Henry   More    in    1660,   "Campion's 
memory  was  still    popular    in  the  North,  and    his 
sermons     were     still     remembered     on    the     Hail 
Mary,  on  the  Ten  Lepers,  on  the  King  who   went 
on  a  journey,  and  on  the  Last  Judgment.     Not  only 
his  eloquence  and  fire,  but  a  certain  hidden  infused 
power,  made  his  words  strike  home."     He  preached 
daily  save  when  occupied  in  writing,  or  obliged  to 
flee    from    the    pursuivants.       At    Blainscow    Hall 
he  was  saved   by  the  ready  wit  of  a   maid-servant 
who,  in    affected   anger,   pushed   him   into  a    pond, 
whence    he   emerged  covered  with  mud  and   unre 
cognisable  by  his  pursuers. 

All  this  while  he  was  composing  a  fresh  book— 
De  Hcrcsi  Desperata.    "  And  truly  I  can  affirm  of  my 
knowledge,"   says     Father    Persons,    "that    it    was 
Father  Campion's  perpetual   opinion  that  heresy  in 
England   was  desperate,   and   that  few  or  no   men 
of   judgment    did  think    in  their   consciences   that 
doctrine  to  be  true   and   defensible  that  was   com 
monly  taught  and  practised,  the  absurdities  thereof 
being  so  many  and  manifest  as  they  were  ;    but  that 
some  of  policy,  some  for  present  government,  others 
for  ease,  others  for  gain,  honour,    and  preferment, 
and   all    commonly   for  some    temporal   interest   or 
other,  did  stretch    out  a   hand  to  hold   it   up  for  a 
time   by  force  and  violence.      Which  opinion  also 
of  his  he  declareth  in  divers  parts  of  his  little  golden 
book  of  Ten  Reasons,  and  namely,  in  the  conclusion 
to  the  scholars  of  the  Universities." 

This  title  had  been  adopted  by  Campion  because 


334  BLESSED  EDMUND   CAMPION 

the  controversy  excited  by  his  Challenge,  made  it 
necessary  to  readjust  the  plan  of  his  book,  and  to 
devote  it  to  explaining,  in  Ten  Reasons,  why  it  was 
that  he  had  so  boldly  challenged  the  Protestants  to 
dispute. 

After  Whit  Sunday,  May  the  isth,  he  came 
up  to  London  to  superintend  its  printing.  The 
book  was  full  of  learning,  and  the  quotations 
were  verified  by  Mr.  Fitzherbert  at  the  London 
libraries.  In  or  near  London,  Campion  was  the 
guest  of  Mr.  William  Bellamy,  who  with  his 
wife  and  family  were  converts,  at  Uxenden  Hall, 
Harrow-on-the-Hill;  of  Mr.  Brideman,  in  West 
minster  ;  of  Mr.  Barnes,  in  Tothill  Street ;  and  of 
Lady  Babington,  at  Whitefriars.  In  going  to  and 
from  Harrow,  Campion  passed  by  Tyburn  Gate, 
which  faced  the  present  Marble  Arch.  Here  was  the 
great  triangular  gallows,  which  had  been  erected 
anew  for  the  execution  of  Dr.  Storey,  whose  blood 
had  consecrated  it,  and  Campion  would  always  walk 
between  its  posts  uncovered,  and  with  a  profound 
bow,  in  honour  of  the  martyrs,  and  because,  as  he 
told  Persons,  it  was  one  day  to  be  the  scene  of  his 
own  conflict. 

After  many  dangers  Campion's  book  was  finally 
printed  at  the  Lady  Stonor's  Lodge,  in  Stonor  Park, 
with  the  title  of  Decem  Rationes—The  Ten  Reasons. 
Four  hundred  copies  of  it  were  distributed  on  or 
about  Tuesday,  June  the  27th,  the  next  before  the 
feast  of  SS.  Peter  and  Paul,  when  the  benches  of 
St.  Mary's  Church,  Oxford,  were  found  covered 
with  the  new  work.  It  treated  of  the  Holy  Scriptures 


BLESSED   EDMUND   CAMPION  335 

and  their  authority  against  Protestants,  of  the 
nature  and  authority  of  the  Church,  of  General 
Councils,  of  Church  history,  of  Protestant  Paradoxes, 
especially  those  of  Calvin,  such  as  God  being  the 
author  of  sin,  and  of  minor  controverted  points. 
The  work  was  dated  Cosmopolis,  1581,  and  set 
the  University  on  fire. 

This  remarkable  book,  though  written  under 
such  great  difficulties,  was  admirably  adapted  to 
the  temperaments  and  the  needs  of  the  men  of  that 
day.  It  acquired  a  very  high  reputation,  and  twenty- 
nine  editions  of  it  have  been  published  in  various 
languages  and  at  various  times.  Marc  Antony 
Muretus,  the  humanist,  wrote  of  it  as,  Libellus 
aureus,  vere  digito  Dei  scriptus.  Elizabeth's  Council 
also  paid  the  book  a  significant  compliment  by 
ordering  some  Anglican  clergymen  to  write  an 
answer  to  it — an  answer  which  was  chiefly  notice 
able  for  the  unmeasured  abuse  with  which  it 
attacked  Campion. 

The  publication  of  Father  Campion's  Ten  Reasons 
forms,  as  it  were,  the  climax  of  his  missionary 
career.  He  already  had  a  presentiment  of  what  was 
in  store  for  him,  and  of  this  he  wrote  in  the  following 
terms,  to  his  Father  General,  Claudio  Aquaviva,  in 
the  last  letter  we  possess  from  his  pen,  dated  the 
gth  of  July,  1581. 

"  Our  adversaries  were  never  more  monstrously 
cruel  than  now ;  the  cause  of  Christ  never  in  better 
condition  or  more  security,  for  we  are  pressed  with 
no  other  arguments  than  those,  whose  premisses 


336  BLESSED  EDMUND   CAMPION 


are  the  rack,  starvation,  cursing ;  this  has  already 
broken  down  the  dignity  of  our  enemies,  and  turned 
the  eyes  and  ears  of  the  whole  realm  towards  the 
Catholics.  Nothing  else  was  lacking  to  this  cause, 
than  that  to  our  books  written  with  ink  should 
succeed  those  others,  which  are  daily  being  pub 
lished  written  in  blood." 

This  was  written  a  fortnight  before  he  was  taken. 

Seeing  the  stir  that  the  book  had  made,  Persons, 
who  was  now  with  Campion  at  Stonor,  thought  it 
prudent  that  they  should  part,  and  that  Campion 
should  go  back  to  the  North.  On  Tuesday,  there 
fore,  the  nth  of  July,  1581,  after  the  usual  mutual 
confession  and  renewal  of  vows,  he  desired  him  to 
proceed  to  Norfolk,  and  knowing  his  easy  temper 
placed  him  under  obedience  to  Ralph  Emerson,  his 
lay-brother  companion,  who  was  to  judge  when  and 
how  long  Campion  should  stay  at  the  houses  of  the 
Catholic  gentry  which  they  passed  on  their  way. 

The  first  night  Campion  and  Ralph  slept  at  the 
house  of  Mrs.  Yate,  the  Mote,  Lyford.  Her 
husband,  a  prisoner  for  the  Faith  in  London,  had 
begged  Campion  to  visit  his  family,  and  Persons 
had  granted  an  exception  in  his  favour  for  one  day. 
Mrs.  Yate  had  several  nuns  and  two  priests,  named 
Ford  and  Collington,  as  her  guests,  who  were  all 
delighted  to  confess  to  Campion ;  and  on  Wednesday, 
July  the  I2th,  he  continued  his  journey,  as  obedience 
enjoined. 

That  same  day,  however,  a  party  of  Catholics 
came  over  to  see  the  nuns,  and  they  were 


BLESSED   EDMUND   CAMPION 


disappointed  and  mortified  to  find  they  had  missed 
Father  Campion,  and  Ford  was  only  too  glad  to 
ride  after  him  to  persuade  him  to  return.  He  over 
took  him  at  an  inn  near  Oxford,  where  a  number  of 
the  students  and  masters  of  the  University  had 
assembled  to  meet  him.  After  much  reluctance 
Brother  Ralph  finally  consented  to  Campion's 
returning  for  the  Sunday,  while  he  went  on  to 
obtain  books  of  which  the  Father  stood  in  need. 

On  Sunday,  July  the  i6th,  more  than  sixty 
Catholics  and  Oxford  students  were  assembled  for 
Mass  and  to  hear  Campion  preach.  His  sermon 
was  on  the  Gospel  for  the  day,  the  Ninth  Sunday 
after  Pentecost— the  tears  of  Jesus  over  Jerusalem- 
and  he  showed  how  England,  like  the  chosen  city, 
was  now  the  slayer  of  the  prophets.  The  earnest 
ness  of  the  preacher,  his  own  personal  danger  as  he 
spoke,  the  circumstances  under  which  they  were 
assembled,  made  the  congregation  afterwards  declare 
that  they  had  never  heard  words  like  his. 

But  among  the  congregation  there  was  a  traitor, 
Eliot— Judas  Eliot  as  he  was  afterwards  called— 
who  had  contrived  to  find  admission,  and  departed 
immediately  after  service.  A  watchman  who  was 
placed  on  the  tower  reported,  while  the  company 
was  at  dinner,  that  the  house  was  surrounded  with 
armed  men.  A  strict  search  was  made,  but  without 
result,  for  the  priests  were  hidden  in  a  secret  cavity 
above  the  gateway.  Irritated  at  their  failure,  the 
searchers  abused  Eliot,  who  was  without,  for 
bringing  them  on  a  fruitless  errand.  He  retorted 
that  they  had  not  known  how  to  find  the  priests, 
w 


338  BLESSED  EDMUND   CAMPION 


and  re-entered  the  house  with  them.  But  again 
the  search  was  useless,  for  the  priests  were  a 
second  time  stowed  away,  and  Mrs.  Yate,  who 
had  a  bed  prepared  for  her  near  the  priests'  hiding- 
place,  obtained  permission  from  the  magistrate  that 
his  men  should  not  disturb  her  rest.  All  seemed 
safe,  yet  at  midnight,  in  her  anxiety  to  hear 
Campion  again,  she  summoned  him  to  her  bed 
chamber,  and  he  and  his  auditors  escaped  only  by 
a  hair's  breadth  from  the  searchers,  who  heard  the 
voices  and  forced  the  door. 

At  length  day  broke  and  the  intruders,  Eliot 
included,  were  descending  the  stairs  to  leave, 
baffled  and  crestfallen,  when  the  traitor,  looking  at 
the  arch  under  which  he  stood,  cried  out,  "This  has 
not  been  tried."  The  man  to  whom  he  spoke  and 
who  was  in  the  secret,  turned  pale,  and  said  that 
"walls  enough  had  been  broken."  Eliot  marked 
his  confusion,  seized  an  axe,  and  after  a  few  blows 
exposed  to  view  the  three  priests,  lying  side  by  side 
on  a  narrow  bed,  their  faces  and  hands  raised  to 
heaven.  They  had  confessed  their  sins  one  to 
another,  and  had  received  for  their  penance  to  say 
Fiat  vohmtas  tua,  with  a  triple  invocation  of  St.  John 
Baptist,  who  had  previously  more  than  once  saved 
Campion  when  in  similar  straits. 

After  the  capture  there  followed  a  delay  of  three 
days  at  Lyford,  before  instructions  were  received 
from  the  Council  to  bring  the  prisoners,  who 
included  several  laymen  with  the  three  priests, 
under  strong  escort  to  London.  The  party  halted 
at  Abingdon,  where  several  Oxford  scholars  came 


BLESSED   EDMUND   CAMPION  339 

to  see  the  famous  Campion;  at  Henley,  where 
Campion  recognized  and  saluted  Persons'  servant, 
whose  master  was  concealed  in  the  neighbourhood  ; 
and  at  Colebrook,  where  a  number  of  Catholics  and 
other  gentry  came  to  look  at  Campion,  who  managed 
to  give  such  a  turn  to  his  conversation  with  the 
guard,  that  the  Catholics  could  understand  its  secret 
import.  From  Colebrook  to  the  Tower  the  prisoners 
were  treated  with  great  indignity;  they  were  mounted 
with  their  faces  to  their  horses'  tails,  their  elbows 
pinioned,  and  their  legs  tied  under  the  horse's  belly. 
On  Campion's  hat  was  a  large  placard,  Campion, 
the  seditious  Jesuit.  Through  all  the  insults  and 
ridicule  Campion's  fortitude,  cheerfulness,  and  cour 
tesy  never  failed. 

On  July  the  22nd  Campion  entered  the  Tower, 
and  was  thrust  by  the  Lieutenant,  Sir  Owen 
Hopton,  into  the  "  Little  Ease."  On  the  fourth 
day,  July  the  25th,  he  was  conveyed  secretly  to  an 
interview  at  which  he  met  the  Earls  of  Leicester 
and  Bedford,  two  Secretaries  of  State,  and  also,  it  is 
said,  the  Que,en  herself.  They  told  him  they  found 
no  fault  with  him  save  that  he  was  a  Papist,  and 
Elizabeth  asked  him  if  he  regarded  her  as  his  true 
Sovereign,  to  which  he  replied,  as  at  his  trial, 
strongly  in  the  affirmative.  Of  this  examination 
there  seems  to  be  no  official  record  extant. 

When  back  in  the  Tower,  Hopton,  at  the  instiga 
tion  no  doubt  of  Elizabeth's  Council,  endeavoured 
to  effect  Campion's  apostacy  by  fair  promises.  He 
was  tempted  with  offers  of  preferment  in  the 
Protestant  Church,  and  the  possibility  of  the 


34o  BLESSED    EDMUND    CAMPION 

primacy.  Then,  as  these  overtures  were  entirely 
ineffective,  it  was  resolved  to  proceed  to  the  torture. 
Campion  was  therefore  led  to  the  rack-chamber, 
where  he  knelt  down  at  the  door,  made  the  sign  of 
the  Cross,  and  while  he  was  being  bound  to  the 
rack,  invoked  the  holy  names  of  Jesus  and  Mary. 
The  pangs  of  the  racking  were  as  powerless  as  the 
bribes  to  shake  the  martyr's  constancy,  yet  lying 
reports  that  he  had  revealed  the  names  of  Catholics 
and  abjured  the  Faith  were  officially  published,  and 
obtained  some  credence  even  among  Catholics. 

As  to  the  betrayal  of  Catholics,  the  fact  was, 
that  the  Government  already  knew  the  names  of 
many  of  Campion's  hosts.  Of  this  there  can  be  no 
doubt,  as  the  official  lists  of  them  are  still  extant 
among  Lord  Burghley's  papers.  These  gentlemen 
were  now  put  under  arrest,  and  were  told  that 
Campion  had  betrayed  them,  a  cruel  slander,  which 
could  hardly  fail  to  damage  the  martyr's  reputation 
for  the  time,  as  he  was  not  aware  of  it,  and  could 
not,  even  if  he  had  known,  have  protested  that  he 
had  never  divulged  any  name  except  such  as  the 
persecutors  were  already  well  aware  of,  or  such  as 
could  take  no  harm  from  his  confession.  It  was 
not  until  his  last  speech  from  the  scaffold  that  he 
was  able  to  explain  this,  and  so  to  dissipate  the 
calumny  finally,  though  in  truth  his  constancy  had 
by  then  been  so  well  proved,  that  the  defence  was 
no  longer  necessary. 

Campion's  enemies,  eager  to  damage  his  reputa 
tion  in  every  way  they  could,  now  endeavoured  to 
discredit  his  learning  and  to  injure  the  fame  which 


BLESSED   EDMUND   CAMPION  34I 

he  had  won  by  his  book,  by  making  him  dispute 
with  certain  learned  Protestants.  To  these  con 
ferences  he  was  brought  unprepared,  and  at  the 
moment  when  he  was  in  the  most  unfit  condition. 
Wearied  in  mind,  racked  and  tortured  in  body,  his 
face  pale  and  worn,  without  a  seat  or  support,  he 
found  himself  with  Sherwin,  Bosgrave,  Pound,  and 
other  Catholic  prisoners,  surrounded  by  a  strong 
guard,  placed  in  the  Tower  chapel  opposite  a  table 
at  which  were  seated  his  opponents,  Nowell, 
Dean  of  St.  Paul's,  and  Day,  Dean  of  Windsor, 
with  distinguished  professors  as  notaries  in  atten 
dance. 

Three  more  of  these  conferences  were  held,  as  it 
would  seem  in  the  room  now  called  the  Council 
Chamber  in  the  Lieutenant's  quarters ;  and  though 
Campion  was  browbeaten,  insulted,  and  threatened, 
his  answers  were  so  calm,  clear,  and  forcible, 
though  most  meek,  that  the  discussions,  as  the 
heretical  Bishop  Aylmer  said,  did  no  good  to 
the  Protestant  cause,  and  they  were  discontinued. 
Among  the  converts  made  by  them  was  the 
Venerable  Philip  Howard,  Earl  of  Arundel,  who 
was  at  that  time  following  the  life  of  a  worldly 
courtier  in  Elizabeth's  suite. 

The  result  of  these  conferences  on  the  popular 
mind  is  reflected  in  the  following  ballads  which 
appeared  at  their  close. 

A  Jesuit,  a  Jebusite  ?  wherefore  I  pray  ? 
Because  he  doth  teach  you  the  only  right  way  ? 
He  professeth  the  same  by  learning  to  prove 
And  shall  we  from  learning  to  rack  him  remove  ? 


342 


BLESSED   EDMUND   CAMPION 


His  reasons  were  ready,  his  grounds  were  most  sure, 
The  enemy  cannot  his  force  long  endure. 
Campion  in  camping  on  spiritual  field, 
In  God's  cause  his  life  is  ready  to  yield. 

Our  preachers  have  preached  in  pastime  and  pleasure, 
And  now  they  be  hated  for  passing  all  measure. 
Their  wives  and  their  wealth  have  made  them  so  mute, 
They  cannot,  nor  dare  not  with  Campion  dispute. 


Let  reason  rule  and  racking  cease, 

Or  else  for  ever  hold  your  peace. 

You  cannot  withstand  God's  power  and  His  grace, 

No,  not  with  the  Tower  and  the  racking-place. 

All  attempts  to  disparage  Campion's  learning 
and  religious  steadfastness  having  failed,  the  only 
course  left  was  to  expose  him  as  a  traitor  to  the 
scorn  of  his  countrymen.  Being  asked  what  he 
thought  of  certain  passages  held  to  be  treasonable 
in  the  works  of  Sander,  Allen,  and  Bristow,  he 
replied,  "That  he  meddleth  neither  to  nor  fro,  and 
will  not  further  answer,  but  requireth  that  they  may 
answer."  As  to  the  validity  of  the  Bull  of  excom 
munication  and  deprivation,  he  said,  "The  question 
dependeth  upon  the  fact  of  Pius  Quintus,  whereof 
he  is  not  to  judge,  and  therefore  refuseth  further  to 


answer. 


In  these  answers  the  martyr  so  expressed  himself 
as  to  satisfy  his  duty  towards  the  various  powers 
which,  though  in  conflict  one  with  another,  could 
still  lay  claims  to  his  allegiance.  If  he  had  tried  to 
answer  so  as  to  satisfy  his  persecutors,  he  would 
have  had  to  use  words  distinctly  derogatory  to  the 


BLESSED   EDMUND   CAMPION  343 

dignity  of  the  Pope.  But  he  did  not  fail  in  the 
least  in  his  respect  for  the  Holy  See,  while  his  words 
signified  his  loyalty  to  the  Queen,  and  also  nobly 
asserted  his  individual  liberty. 

To  appreciate  this  we  must  remember  that  he 
had  always  avowed  his  allegiance  to  Elizabeth  as 
his  Queen.  We  have  heard  one  strong  assertion 
of  this,  and  we  shall  hear  one  stronger  still,  that 
which  he  made  with  his  last  breath.  Another  may 
be  quoted  here  from  the  tenth  of  his  Ten  Reasons, 
where,  after  enumerating  the  great  Catholic  Kings, 
Edward  the  Confessor,  Louis  of  Erance,  Hermene- 
gild,  Henry,  Wenceslaus,  &c.,  &c.,  who  had,  in  the 
words  of  Isaias  xlix.  23,  been  "nursing-fathers"  to 
the  Church,  he  continues:  "Give  ear,  O  Elizabeth, 
most  potent  Queen!  With  those  monarch*  range 
thyself.  To  do  otherwise  would  be  unworthy  of 
thy  progenitors,  of  thy  wit,  of  thy  learning,  of  the 
eulogies  passed  upon  thee,  of  thy  royal  fortune. 
To  accomplish  this  is  my  only  endeavour  against 
thee,  and  attempt  it  I  will,  whatever  the  event. 
For  the  adversaries  have  already  so  often  threatened 
me,  as  though  I  were  the  enemy  of  thy  life,  with 
the  gibbet.  'All  Hail,  Holy  Cross!'  The  day 
shall  come,  O  Queen,  the  day  that  shall  make  it 
clear  as  noon-tide  which  of  the  two  did  love 
thee  best — the  Company  of  Jesus  or  the  brood  of 
Luther." 

The  last  touch  is  thoroughly  characteristic  of 
the  English  Catholics.  Not  only  did  they  reckon 
themselves  loyal  to  the  Queen,  but  also  that  they 
alone  were  truly  loyal  to  her.  The  new  religionists, 


344 


BLESSED   EDMUND  CAMPION 


they  held,  would  only  support  her  as  long  as  it  was 
their  interest  to  do  so.1 

Campion's  allegiance,  therefore,  was  not  in 
question.  They  durst  not  have  asked  for  a  pro 
fession  of  it,  or  they  would  have  injured  their 
prosecution.  So  he  was  craftily  questioned  about 
the  Bull  of  Excommunication,  in  order  to  inveigle 
him  into  statements  about  the  limits  of  Elizabeth's 
powers  of  misgovernment.  Such  statements  his 
bigoted  enemies  would  easily  have  twisted  into 
an  odious  offence  against  the  autocratic  Queen. 
Hence  the  merit  of  his  reticence.  In  refusing 
to  pledge  himself  to  the  formulas  proposed  by  the 
insidious  and  deceitful  enemies  of  the  Church,  he 
was  asserting  his  liberty  in  the  only  way  which  was 
possible  for  him. 

On    October  the  3ist  he   was  for   a  third   time 
racked    in   the    hopes  of   extracting  some    compro- 

1  Where  many  authors  might  be  quoted,  it  will  be  sufficient  to 
cite  Father  Persons.  In  his  Reasons  why  Catholiques  refuse  to  goe  to 
Church,  which  was  published  just  before  Campion's  Decem  Ratio-ties, 
he  devotes  a  special  section  to  prove  that  "The  Catholique  faythe 
teachethe  obedience  more  then  other  religions."  He  further 
testifies  that  the  English  Catholics  were  grievously  maligned  in 
being  called  disloyal,  "In  all  which  great  wronges  they  have  no 
appeale  but  unto  God  and  to  your  Maiestye,  as  Vicegerent  in  his 
place,  before  whom  they  desire,  above  all  other  thinges  to  cleare 
themselves  from  this  greevous  objected  crime  of  disloyalty,  by 
protesting  and  calling  the  omnipotent  knowledge  of  our  great  God 
and  Saviour  to  witness,  that  they  are  deeply  slaundered  in  this 
poynte,  and  that  they  are  as  readye  to  spend  their  goods,  landes, 
livings  and  lyfe  with  all  other  worldly  commodities  whatsoever,  in 
the  service  of  your  Maiestye  and  their  Countrie,  as  their  ancestors 
have  been  to  your  Noble  progenitors  before  this,  and  as  all  dutiful 
subiectes  are  bound  to  doe  unto  their  soveraine  Princesse  and 
Quene."  (Sig.  I.  vi.  vii.) 


BLESSED   EDMUND    CAMPION  345 


mising  confession,  and  the  tortures  were  so  cruel, 
that  he  thought  they  meant  to  kill  him  in  this 
manner.  Of  his  fortitude,  Lord  Hunsdon  said  that 
one  might  sooner  pluck  his  heart  from  his  bosom 
than  rack  one  word  out  of  his  mouth  that  he  made 
conscience  of  uttering.  When  asked  the  next  day 
by  his  keeper  how  he  felt  his  hands  and  feet,  he 
answered  :  "  Not  ill,  because  not  at  all."  These 
barbarous  cruelties  produced  a  reaction  in  the 
public  mind;  indeed,  they  raised  an  outcry  all 
through  Europe. 

The  short-sighted  Government  had  resolved 
that  Campion  must  be  silenced  at  any  cost,  and 
death  seemed  now  the  only  sure  means  to  attain 
their  end.  On  Tuesday,  November  the  I4th,  at 
Westminster  Hall,  with  Sherwin,  Kirby,  Bosgrave, 
Cottam,  Johnson,  Orton,  and  Rishton,  he  was 
indicted  on  an  absolutely  false  charge,  of  having 
entered  England  for  the  purpose  of  raising  a 
rebellion,  said  to  have  been  planned  by  them  with 
Allen  and  others  at  Rheims  and  Rome. 

On  hearing  the  indictment,  Campion  said  : 
"  I  protest,  before  God  and  His  holy  Angels,  before 
heaven  and  earth,  before  the  world  and  this  bar, 
whereat  I  stand,  which  is  but  a  small  resemblance 
of  the  terrible  judgment  of  the  next  life,  that  I  am 
not  guilty  of  any  part  of  the  treason  contained  in 
the  indictment,  or  of  any  other  treason  whatever." 
Then  while  the  jury  was  being  empanelled  for  the 
next  Thursday,  he  lifted  up  his  voice,  and  added  : 
"  Is  it  possible  to  find  twelve  men  so  wicked  and 
void  of  all  conscience,  in  this  city  or  land,  that  will 


346  BLESSED   EDMUND   CAMPION 

find  us  guilty  together  of  this  one  crime,  divers  of 
us  never  meeting  or  knowing  one  the  other  before 
our  bringing  to  this  bar  ?  " 

The  prisoners  were  now  commanded  to  hold 
up  their  hands  and  plead  Guilty  or  Not  Guilty. 
But  both  Campion's  arms  were  so  maimed  by  the 
racking  that  he  could  not  raise  them,  on  which 
one  of  his  companions  took  his  hand  out  of  the 
furred  cuff  in  which  it  was,  and,  kissing  it,  held  it 
up  as  high  as  was  possible.  Finally,  they  were 
taken  back  to  their  respective  prisons. 

On  November  the  i6th  the  prisoners  were 
brought  up  for  their  trial.  The  foreman  of  the  jury, 
William  Lee,  was  an  informer  and  a  fanatic  ;  the 
remainder  were  men  of  little  note,  and  only  too 
ready  to  do  his  bidding.  The  presiding  judge, 
Chief  Justice  Wray,  contrived,  suggests  Lord 
Campbell,  under  a  show  of  impartiality,  to  obtain 
what  convictions  he  desired.  Anderson,  the  Queen's 
Counsel,  opened  the  case  against  the  prisoners  by 
accusing  them  with  much  vehement  extravagance 
of  gesture  and  language,  of  conspiracy  and  sedition, 
and  of  being  connected  with  Storey  and  Felton. 
Campion  replied  that  they  were  there,  not  to  be 
tried  by  "the  descant  and  flourishes  of  affected 
speeches,"  but  by  sufficient  evidence  and  substantial 
witness.  As  to  the  sequel,  that  they  were  traitors 
because  Catholics  and  guests  of  the  Pope,  it  in  no 
wise  followed.  "  If  a  sheep  were  stolen,  and  a 
whole  family  called  in  question  for  the  same,  were 
it  good  manner  of  proceeding  for  the  accusers  to 
say,  'Your  great-grandfathers  and  fathers  and 


BLESSED   EDMUND   CAMPION  347 

sisters  and  kinsfolk  all  loved  mutton.  Ergo,  You 
have  stolen  the  sheep.'  " 

He  showed  that  there  was  no  evidence  against 
them  of  conspiracy,  that  their  oaths,  whether  of 
those  who  were  secular  priests,  or  his  own  as  a 
Jesuit,  were  of  a  purely  religious  character.  That 
they  had  received  money  from  the  Pope  merely  for 
their  support  as  missioners ;  that  in  Rome,  as 
elsewhere,  he  had  never  denied  that  Elizabeth  was 
his  lawful  Sovereign. 

In  answer  to  Popham,  the  Attorney-General,  he 
justified  his  various  disguises  and  escapes  by  the 
example  of  St.  Paul.  Finally,  when  Eliot  deposed 
that  he  had  persuaded  his  audience  to  obedience 
to  the  Pope,  Campion  made  him  confess  that 
the  Pope's  name  had  never  been  mentioned  in  his 
sermon  ;  and  showed  that  the  great  day  of  which 
he  had  spoken,  and  which  Eliot  swore  meant  the 
day  fixed  for  the  rebellion,  was  no  other  than  the 
Day  of  Judgment. 

He  also  defended  the  other  prisoners  and  cross- 
examined  their  opposing  witnesses;  and  at  the  end, 
on  behalf  of  all  at  the  bar,  made  an  appeal  to  the 
jury.  The  whole  discourse  against  them  that  day, 
he  said,  consisted — first,  in  presumptions  and  pro 
babilities  ;  secondly,  in  matters  of  religion  ;  thirdly, 
in  oaths  and  testimonies  of  witnesses.  He  proved 
that  the  two  first  in  no  way  substantiated  the 
charge  of  treason  ;  and  as  to  the  two  chief  witnesses, 
asked  what  credence  could  be  put  in  them  ;  "  the 
one  (Eliot)  a  confessed  murderer;  the  other 
(Munday),  a  well-known  and  detestable  atheist — a 


348  BLESSED    EDMUND    CAMPION 


profane  heathen — a  destroyer  of  two  men  already." 
The  jury  now  retired  for  their  verdict.  During' 
their  absence  Judge  Ayloff,  who  was  on  the  bench, 
pulling  off  his  glove,  "  found  his  hand  and  seal  of 
arms  bloody,  without  any  token  of  wrong,  pricking 
or  hurt,"  and  the  blood  returned  whenever  he  wiped 
it  away.  This  fact  was  witnessed  by  Catholics  and 
counted  by  them  as  a  miracle.  The  pleadings  had 
occupied  about  three  hours,  and  after  the  lapse  of 
another  hour,  during  which  a  glass  of  beer  was 
brought  to  Campion  by  some  one  in  court,  the  jury 
returned  with  a  verdict  of  Guilty  against  all  the 
prisoners. 

When  asked  by  the  Chief  Justice  why  sentence 
of  death  should  not  be  passed,  Campion  replied  : 

"  It  was  not  our  death  that  ever  we  feared.  But 
we  knew  that  we  were  not  lords  of  our  lives,  and 
therefore  for  want  of  answer  would  not  be  guilty  of 
our  own  deaths.  The  only  thing  we  have  now  to 
say  is  that  if  our  religion  do  make  us  traitors,  we 
are  worthy  to  be  condemned  ;  but  otherwise  are 
and  have  been  as  true  subjects  as  ever  the  Queen 
had.  In  condemning  us  you  condemn  all  your  own 
ancestors — all  the  ancient  bishops,  priests,  and 
kings, — all  that  was  once  the  glory  of  England,  the 
island  of  saints,  and  the  most  devoted  child  of  the 
See  of  Peter.  For  what  have  we  taught,  however 
you  may  qualify  it  with  the  odious  name  of  treason, 
that  they  did  not  uniformly  teach?  To  be  con 
demned  with  these  old  lights — not  of  England  only, 
but  of  the  world — by  their  degenerate  descendants 


BLESSED   EDMUND    CAMPION  349 


is  both  gladness  and  glory  to  us.  God  lives ; 
posterity  will  live;  their  judgment  is  not  so  liable 
to  corruption  as  that  of  those  who  now  sentence  us 
to  death." 

Campion's  defence  during  the  whole  day  had 
been  clear,  pointed,  calm,  and  dignihed,  but  in  this 
last  speech,  delivered  with  a  noble  mien,  he 
surpassed  himself,  and  his  fellow-prisoners  forgot 
their  fate  in  the  holy  enthusiasm  his  words  pro 
duced.  After  the  sentence  was  pronounced  in  the 
usual  form,  Campion  broke  out  into  the  TV  Dcuw, 
and  all  the  martyrs  were  taken  back  to  their  prison, 
their  hearts  filled  with  great  joy. 

Of  the  trial  Hallam  says  the  prosecution  was  as 
unfairly  conducted,  and  supported  by  as  slender 
evidence  as  any  perhaps  that  can  be  found  in  our 
books.  Both  judges  and  jury  were  in  fact  bought 
and  predetermined  for  "the  verdict  the  most  unjust," 
says  the  old  writer  quoted  by  Challoner,  "  that  ever 
I  think  was  given  up  in  this  land,  whereat  already 
(1582)  not  only  England  but  all  the  Christian  world 
doth  wonder,  and  which  their  posterity  shall  lament 
and  be  ashamed  of." 

The  public  opinion  was  manifested  in  a  ballad  : 

They  packed  a  jury  that  cried  guilty  straight, 
You  bloody  jury,  Lee  and  all  th'  eleven, 
Take  heed  your  verdict  which  was  given  in  haste 
Do  not  exclude  you  from  the  joys  of  heaven. 

On  his  return  to  prison  attempts  were  again 
made  to  persuade  Campion  to  apostatize ;  this  time 
by  his  own  sister,  who  brought  him  an  offer  from 


350  BLESSED   EDMUND   CAMPION 

Hopton  of  a  benefice  of  £100  a  year.  He  was  also 
visited  by  Eliot,  who  professed  repentance  for 
having  encompassed  his  death,  and  declared  himself 
in  great  fear  for  his  life  from  Catholics.  Campion 
freely  forgave  him  all  his  malice  and  perjury, 
besought  him  to  do  penance,  and  while  assuring 
him  of  his  safety  as  regarded  his  life  with  Catholics, 
promised  him  a  letter  to  a  Catholic  Duke  in 
Germany  with  whom  he  might  live  in  perfect 
security.  This  interview  had  such  an  effect  on 
Delahays,  Campion's  keeper,  that  he  afterwards 
became  a  Catholic. 

After  this,  the  Duke  of  Anjou,  then  in  England 
as  a  suitor  for  the  hand  of  Elizabeth,  was  asked 
to  intercede  for  him,  and  promised  to  do  so. 
His  confessor,  an  Abbe,  undertook  to  see  that  the 
Duke  gave  effect  to  his  promises.  He  found  him 
about  to  begin  a  game  of  tennis.  On  hearing  the 
message  and  that  the  petitioners  were  without,  the 
Duke  stood  hesitating,  like  a  man  just  awakened 
from  a  deep  sleep,  stroking  his  face  with  his  left 
hand.  After  a  while  he  raised  his  right  hand,  which 
held  the  racket,  and  said  "  Play !  "  This  was  all 
the  answer  the  petitioners  could  get  from  him. 

In  the  splash  and  mud  of  a  rainy  morning  in 
December,  Campion  was  led  forth  from  the  Tower 
in  the  same  gown  of  Irish  frieze  he  had  worn  at  his 
trial.  Undaunted  he  saluted  the  vast  crowd,  saying, 
"  God  save  you  all,  gentlemen  !  God  bless  you  and 
make  you  all  good  Catholics."  He  then  knelt  and 
prayed  with  his  face  towards  the  east,  concluding 
with  the  words,  In  manus  tuas,  Domine,  commendo 


BLESSED   EDMUND   CAMPION  35 1 

spiritum  meum.  Then  he  was  strapped  on  the  hurdle, 
Sherwin  and  Briant  being  together  bound  on  a 
second  hurdle.  They  were  dragged  at  the  horses' 
tails  through  the  gutters  and  filth,  followed  by 
an  insulting  crowd  of  ministers  and  rabble.  Still  a 
few  Catholics  managed  to  exchange  a  word  with  him 
on  spiritual  matters,  to  their  great  consolation.  One 
gentleman,  like  Veronica  in  another  Via  Dolorosa, 
most  courteously  wiped  his  face,  all  spattered  with 
mire  and  dirt,  "for  which  charity,"  says  the  priest 
who  saw  the  deed,  "  may  God  reward  and  bless 
him  !  "  Passing  under  the  arch  of  Newgate,  whereon 
there  still  stood  an  image  of  our  Lady,  Campion 
raised  himself  and  saluted  the  Queen  of  Heaven, 
whom  he  hoped  to  see  so  soon.  The  martyrs  had 
a  smile  on  their  faces,  and  as  they  drew  near 
Tyburn  the  people  cried  out,  "  But  they  laugh  ; 
they  do  not  care  for  death  !  " 

At  the  gallows  Campion  was  the  first  ordered  to 
put  his  head  into  the  halter,  which  he  did  with  all 
obedience ;  then  when  the  noise  was  somewhat 
stilled  he  began  with  a  grave  countenance  and  sweet 
firm  voice,  Spectaculuin  facti  suimis  Deo,  angelis  et 
hominibus.  But  he  was  interrupted  by  Sir  Francis 
Knollys  and  the  sheriffs,  who  urged  him  to  confess 
his  treason.  Again  and  again  he  maintained  his 
innocence,  while  divers  charges  of  sedition  were 
again  preferred  against  him.  Pressed  anew  to 
declare  his  opinion  on  the  Bull  of  St.  Pius,  and 
urged  to  renounce  the  Pope,  he  replied  that  he  was 
a  Catholic  and  would  not  discuss  the  Bull.  Then 
he  prayed,  "  Christ  have  mercy  on  me,"  or  such- 


352  BLESSED   EDMUND   CAMPION 


like  prayer,  and  was  once  more  interrupted  by  a 
minister  offering  to  pray  with  him,  to  whom  he 
humbly  said,  "You  and  I  are  not  one  in  religion, 
wherefore  I  pray  you  content  yourself.  I  bar  none 
of  prayer,  but  I  only  desire  them  of  the  household  of 
faith  to  pray  with  me,  and  in  mine  agony  to  say  one 
Creed  " — to  signify  that  he  died  for  the  confession 
'of the  Catholic  and  Apostolic  Faith. 

Then  he  again  turned  to  his  prayers,  and  some 
called  out  that  he  should  pray  in  English  and  not 
in  a  foreign  tongue,  but  he  pleasantly  answered, 
"  That  he  would  pray  God  in  a  language  that  they 
both  well  understood/'  Being  told  to  ask  the 
Queen's  forgiveness  and  to  pray  for  her,  he  protested 
his  innocence  saying,  "This  is  my  last  speech,  in 
this  give  me  credit.  I  have  and  do  pray  for  her." 
To  Lord  Charles  Howard,  who  asked  if  by  Queen 
he  meant  Elizabeth,  Campion  replied,  "  Yea,  for 
Elizabeth  your  Queen  and  my  Queen,  unto  whom  I 
wish  a  long  reign  with  all  prosperity."  While  these 
words  were  being  spoken  the  cart  was  drawn  away 
and  the  blessed  martyr,  among  the  tears  and  groans 
of  the  vast  multitude,  went  to  his  reward.  At  the 
bidding  of  someone  in  authority  his  body  was  not 
cut  down  till  after  death. 

The  greatest  precautions  were  taken  to  prevent 
Catholics  securing  relics.  A  young  man  who 
dropped  his  handkerchief  into  the  blood  on  the 
ground  was  taken  and  committed.  Another 
contrived  to  possess  himself  of  a  finger,  and  later 
on  one  of  the  arms  was  taken  from  the  gate  where 
it  was  nailed.  Father  Persons  managed  to  buy  the 


BLESSED   EDMUND   CAMPION  353 

rope  in   which  his  martyred    friend  was    bound   or 
hanged,  and  died  with  it  round  his  neck. 

Among  the  miracles  wrought  by  his  relics  are  those 
on  Mr.  Anderton,  of  Lancashire,  twice  cured  by 
them,  and  once  when  laid  out  as  dead.  His  picture 
was  hung  over  altars,  his  name  was  assumed  by 
religious  in  their  novitiate,  and  his  intercession  was 
implored  even  in  Bohemia.  In  his  cell  at  Prague 
an  altar  with  his  picture  was  erected,  and  the 
pavement  was  kissed  on  which  his  feet  had  stood. 
His  confessors  there,  Father  Anthony  Francis  and 
Father  Paul  Campanus,  publicly  testified  to  his 
sanctity  and  purity  of  conscience. 

As  to  the  fruits  of  Campion's  death  we  have 
the  estimate  of  Father  Henry  \Yalpole,  that 
ten  thousand  persons  were  converted  through  it. 
That  a  great  number  of  conversions  followed  is 
abundantly  proved,  among  others,  those  of  the 
daughters  of  Walsingham  and  Hopton.  ''Although," 
says  a  contemporary  writer,  "we  lost  the  chief 
pearl  of  Christendom,  yet  it  is  well,  for  all  men  are 
of  opinion  that  the  offences  and  negligences  of  our 
predecessors  and  forefathers  were  so  great,  and 
our  own  sins  so  many,  as  they  must  needs  be  re 
deemed  by  the  blood  of  the  martyrs." 

H.  S.  B. 
J.  H.  P. 


ii. 


354  BLESSED   EDMUND   CAMPION 


AUTHORITIES. — The  death  of  Campion  called  forth  several 
scores  of  pamphlets,  both  Catholic  and  Protestant,  a  full 
account  of  which  will  be  found  in  Mr.  Simpson's  work,  which 
will  be  mentioned  immediately.  They  are  all  short,  and 
confine  themselves  chiefly  to  the  martyrdom.  Father 
Persons'  Of  the  Life  and  Martyrdom  of  Edmund  Campion 
(written  in  1594)  is  a  work  of  very  great  value,  and  enters  into 
many  details.  Though  never  finished,  it  gives  us  by  far  the 
most  vivid  and  complete  portrait  of  the  martyr  that  we 
possess.  It  survives  in  a  transcript  made  by  Father 
Christopher  Grene,  now  among  the  Stonyhurst  Manuscripts, 
Collectanea  P.  vol.  i.  and  was  privately  printed  by  Brother 
Foley,  in  the  Letters  and  Notices  (Manresa  Press),  1867,  1868, 
p.  278,  &c. 

The  reason  why  Father  Persons  did  not  complete  his 
work  was  because  another  biographer,  who  was  exceedingly 
well-fitted  to  attract  the  attention  of  that  age,  undertook  to 
bring  out  the  Life.  This  was  Padre  Paolo  Bombino,  a 
latinist  of  note  in  an  age  when  Ciceronian  Latin  was  the  most 
esteemed  and  popular  of  languages  among  scholars.  His 
Vita  et  Martyrium  Edmnndi  Campiani  Martyris  Angli,  was 
first  published  at  Antwerp,  in  1618,  and  subsequently 
reprinted  at  Mantua  and  elsewhere.  Bombino's  life  is 
written  with  extreme  care  and  diligence,  and  is  the  fullest 
of  all  the  biographies  ;  but  the  excessive  attention  to  style 
robs  the  Life  of  much  of  its  naturalness  and  vigour.  In  the 
Archives  of  the  Society  of  Jesus  there  is  a  copy  of  Bombino's 
work,  in  which  there  are  many  additions  by  the  author, 
which  have  not  yet  been  published.  It  is  to  be  regretted 
that  this  work  has  never  appeared  in  an  English  dress. 

Mr.  Richard  Simpson's  Edmund  Campion  :  A  Biography, 
Edinburgh  1867,  London  1889,  is  an  historical  work  of  great 
importance.  Its  author,  however,  a  convert  from  Pro 
testantism,  drifted  during  his  later  years  into  an  extreme 
aversion  to  the  temporal  rights  of  the  Holy  See  (see  the 
notice  of  him  in  the  Dictionary  of  National  Biography],  and  in 
writing  this  volume  his  bias  has  carried  him  into  many 
mistakes  and  some  grave  errors.  Though  the  defect  is  in  a 
certain  way  a  fortunate  one,  in  so  far  as  it  is  likely  to  disarm 


BLESSED    EDMUND   CAMPION  355 

the  prejudices  of  Protestant  readers,  it  of  course  prevents 
the  biography  from  being  adequate  or  even  entirely  just 
to  the  martyr,  though  its  scholarship  and  sympathy  (except 
on  the  point  above  mentioned)  give  it  true  and  permanent 
value. 

Mr.  Simpson  had  access  to  all  the  papers  relating  to 
Campion,  both  in  public  and  private  archives  (including 
those  of  the  Society  of  Jesus)  so  far  as  they  were  then  known. 
Notice  of  some  additional  papers,  which  have  come  to  light 
since  his  time,  and  further  researches  into  particular  episodes, 
will  be  found  in  the  following  articles  in  The  Month,  by  the 
late  Father  John  Morris,  S.J. : 

Blessed   Edmund    Campion  at  Douay,  1887,  vol.  61,   p.   330. 
Blessed  Edmund   Campion    and    Companions,  Martyrs,   1887 
vol.  6 1,  p.  457,  &c. 

Blessed  Edmund  Campion  and  his  "  Ten  Reasons,"  1889 
(July),  vol.  66,  p.  372,  &c. 

A  new  Witness  about  Blessed  Edmund  Campion,  1893 
(August),  vol.  77,  p.  457,  &c. 

Also  in  the  following  article,  by  Father  J.  H.  Pollen,  S.J.  : 
Blessed     Edmund    Campion's    Journey    to     England,    1897 
(Sept.),  vol.  90,  p.  243,  £c. 

Blessed  Edmund  Campion's  History  of  Ireland  was 
published,  but  with  some  alterations,  by  Holinshed  in  1587, 
and  again  by  Sir  James  Ware,  in  his  History  of  Ireland, 
in  1633.  In  Holinshed  it  was  read  by  Shakespeare,  who 
borrowed  from  it  frequently  while  writing  his  character  of 
Wolsey.  (Henry  VIII.  act  iv,  sc.  2):  On  the  character  and 
limitations  of  the  History,  see  Father  Edmund  Hogan,  S.J., 
Blessed  Edmund  Campion's  History  of  Ireland  and  its  Critics,  in 
the  Irish  Ecclesiastical  Record,  ser.  3,  vol.  12,  1891,  pp.  629,  725. 
There  is  a  manuscript  copy  of  the  work  at  the  Heralds' 
College. 

On  the  publication  of  the  Decent  Rationes  at  the  Stonor 
Park  Press,  see  an  article  by  W.  H.  Allnutt,  Bibliographica, 
vol.  ii.  pp.  161—165,  and  The  Month  for  January,  1905. 

Campion's  Opuscula  (which  consist  of  a  few  sermons, 
verses,  and  letters,  besides  the  Ten  Reasons)  have  been 
published  six  or  seven  times;  the  last  and  most  complete 
edition  being  that  at  Barcelona  in  1888.  See  also  the  Biblio- 


356  BLESSED   EDMUND   CAMPION 

theque  de  la  Compagnie  de  Jesus,  Edit,  de  Backer,  i.  1025 — IO3T  "» 
Edit.  Sommervogel,  ii.  586 — 597. 

RELICS. — i.  Bone.  Portion  of  a  phalanx-bone.  Whether 
this  came  from  the  hand  or  the  foot,  cannot  perhaps  be 
ascertained  with  certainty  from  the  bone  itself  in  its  present 
condition.  But  all  things  considered,  there  can  be  little 
doubt  that  it  is  part  of  the  "thumb,"  the  rescue  of  which 
was  recorded  by  Serrano,  the  Spanish  Ambassador's  secretary, 
three  days  after  the  martyrdom  (Morris,  New  Witness,  referred 
to  above),  and  with  which  the  "  finger,"  mentioned  on  p.  352, 
is  also  presumably  to  be  identified.  It  is  preserved  in  Rome, 
but  a  considerable  portion  has  been  detached,  and  presented 
to  the  English  Jesuit  Novitiate  at  Roehampton. 

2.  Shirt  in  which  he  suffered.    One  fragment  (a)  is  preserved 
at  Stonyhurst  College  (Reliquary  I.),  two  others  (b,  c]  by  the 
Jesuit  Fathers   in    London    (Reliquary  I.  no.  7 ;  III.  no.   3); 
Relic  (a}  is  inscribed,  in  a  sixteenth  century  hand, "  ex  indusio 
P.  Campiani,"  (b}  "of  the  shirt  of  Father  Edmond  Campian 
in  which  he  suffered,"   (c)  "  B.  P.  Campion   M.  Soc.  lesu." 
The  two  latter  inscriptions  in  a  late  sixteenth  or  early  seven 
teenth  century  hand.     Relics  (a)  and  (c)  are  apparently  of  the 
same  material,  coarse  linen,  (b)  is  fine  linen. 

3.  The  cord  by  which  he  was  hanged  or  bound.     A  thin  rope, 
about    twelve    feet    long,   a    good    deal    worn    and    frayed. 
Stonyhurst,    Reliquary    I,    Inscription    "Vincula    B.    Edm. 
Campiani,"  sixteenth  century  hand.     Father  Persons  always 
carried  this  relic  about  with  him,  and  died  with  it  round  his 
neck.  (Simpson's  Campion,  p.  330.) 

4.  Hat  No.  i.     This  relic  and  the  following   arose  from 
the    custom,    common    in    the    sixteenth    century,    of    men 
exchanging  hats  in  memory  one  of  the  other.   When  Campion 
entered  the  Society  of  Jesus,  he  was  received  by  St.  Francis 
Borgia ;  he  was  in  fact  the  first  new  member  whom  the  then 
recently-elected  General  admitted.     As  a  sign  of  esteem  the 
Saint  gave  the  future  martyr  his  hat,  and  Campion  took  it 
with  him  to  Prague,  and  there  it  is  still  preserved. 

5.  Hat    No.   2.      When   Fathers    Persons   and   Campion 
parted  for  the  last  time,  they  exchanged  hats.     Campion  was 
arrested  soon  after,  and  whilst  he  was  being  carried  to  London, 
a  placard,  CAMPION,  THE  SEDITIOUS  JESUIT,  was  stuck  into 


BLESSED   EDMUND   CAMPION  357 


this  hat.  A  few  weeks  later  in  the  Tower  his  fellow- 
captive  Stephen  Brinkley,— who  had  been  Campion's  com 
panion  at  Stonor,  and  who  was  then  almost  the  only  person 
able  to  communicate  with  him  by  messenger, — begged  this 
hat  from  him.  In  due  time  Brinkley  was  exiled,  and  carried 
his  relic  with  him  to  Flanders,  where  on  the  3rd  of  August, 
1585,  he  enclosed  it  in  a  reliquary,  with  a  Latin  inscription, 
of  which  the  above  description  is  a  summary,  and  which 
may  be  read  in  Father  Morris's  article  on  Campion's  Ten 
Reasons,  mentioned  above.  Part  of  this  relic,  with  a  copy  of 
the  inscription,  was  found  at  Antwerp  in  1877,  and  half  of 
this  portion  is  now  at  the  Jesuit  Novitiate,  Roehampton. 

6.  Rosary  Ring.  A  rather  large  thick  ring  of  white  metal 
or  German  silver;  ten  small  knobs  on  short  stems,  the  bezel 
is  inscribed  IHS.  sixteenth  century.  Its  history,  as  at  present 
recorded,  does  not  extend  beyond  the  middle  of  the  nineteenth 
century,  when  it  belonged  to  the  Rev.  R.  Vandepitte,  who 
gave  it  to  the  nuns  of  St.  Mary's  Convent,  York,  and  they  to 
the  late  Father  J.  Morris,  S.J.,  who  deposited  it  with  the 
Jesuit  Fathers  at  London. 

PORTRAIT.  —  Though  a  good  many  ancient  pictures  of 
Blessed  Edmund  exist,  it  is  not  known  that  any  can  claim 
to  be  a  portrait,  except  that  painted  immediately  after  his 
death  for  the  Gesu  in  Rome,  and  under  the  eyes  of  those 
who  knew  the  martyr  personally.  The  painting  still  exists 
in  Rome,  but  has  unfortunately  been  very  extensively  re- 
coloured.  A  copy,  made  from  the  picture  in  its  original 
state  by  Mr.  Charles  Weld,  is  at  Stonyhurst,  and  photographs 
of  this  have  been  published. 


X. 
THE  BLESSED   RALPH   SHERWIN, 

SECULAR  PRIEST. 
Tyburn,  I  December,  1581. 

WE  are  not  surprised  to  find  that  attachment  to 
the  Catholic  Faith  long  kept  its  hold  upon  English 
seats  of  learning.  Thus  Strype  says  the  Inns  of  Court 
were  "disaffected"  in  1569.  Mass  was  privately 
said  at  the  Temple,  and  when  a  number  of  suspected 
benchers  were  examined  by  the  Ecclesiastical  Com 
missioners  about  "coming  to  service,"  they  parried 
the  question  by  saying  "  they  came  to  the  Temple 
Church  upon  Sundays  and  holidays,  meaning  no 
more  than  that  they  came  and  walked  about  the 
roundel  there."1  All  through  Elizabeth's  reign  the 
Universities  continued  to  feed  the  Seminaries 
abroad.  A  paper  in  the  Record  Office  of  1580,  or 
thereabouts,  reports  that  "  Balioll  Colledg  hathe 
not  bin  free  from  the  suspicion  of  papistrie  this 
longe  time."  2  But  one  of  the  strongest  instances  is 
Exeter  College,  Oxford,  where,  Strype  declares,  in 
1578,  "  of  eighty,  were  found  but  four  obedient 
subjects ;  all  the  rest  secret  or  open  Roman  affec- 

1  Strype,  Annals,  vol.  ii.  c.  Iv.  n.  607. 
2  Knox,  Douay  Diaries,  Appendix,  p.  363. 


BLESSED   RALPH   SHERWIN  359 

tionaries,    and    particularly    one    Savage,    a    most 
earnest  defender  of  the  Pope's  Bull  and  excommuni 
cation."      Some  few  of  these  may  have  been  crypto- 
Catholics,   but   no   doubt   the  greater  number  were 
men  brought  up  in  the  new  religion,  but  by  sympathy 
and   reason  drawn   to  the  Church   of  all  ages.     Of 
this    class,    a    little    earlier    in    the    decade,   was    a 
distinguished  fellow  of  the  College,  Ralph  Sherwin. 
He  was  a  native  of  Derbyshire,  his  home  being  at 
a  place  called   Rodesley,  near  Longford.      He  was 
nominated  to  a  fellowship   in    1568,  by  Sir  William 
Petre.2       Anthony    a    Wood    speaks    highly    of  his 
attainments.     "  In   1574,"   he  says,  "  proceeding  in 
arts,  he  was  made  senior  of  the  act  or  public  dispu 
tation,   celebrated    July    the    26th,   the    same    year; 
being   then    accounted    an    acute    philosopher,  and 
an    excellent   Grecian   and    Hebrician.''3      On    this 
occasion    the    Earl    of    Leicester    and    a    brilliant 
audience    were    present,    and    his    reputation    was 
greatly   enhanced.      God's   grace,    however,    would 
not    allow  him    to    follow   the  career  of   prosperity 
which  might  have  been  his.     The  next  year  he  gave 

1  Strype,  Annals,  vol.  iv.  c.  xiii.  n.  539. 

2  Sir  William  Petre  founded  eight  fellowships  in  Exeter  College, 
of  which  he  reserved  the  patronage  to  himself,  and,  it  would  appear, 
to  his  heirs.  (See  Wood's  Fasti  Oxonienses.) 

3  Ralph  Sherwin,  sup.  for  B.A.  26  Apr.  1571,  adm.  22  Nov.,  det. 
1572,  M.A.  1574,  Fellow  of  Exeter  1568—1575.  (Boase,  Register  of  the 
University  of  Oxford,  vol   i.  282.)     In  the  register  of  Exeter  College, 
vol.  II.  ii.  32,  in  the  list  of  students,  A.D.  1572,  we  find  "No.  16,  Sherwin, 
Sir  Ralph."  (Cf.  Wood,  Athena,  i.  478.)     On  November  24,  1577,  he 
was   still   a  Fellow   of  Exeter,   though   then  at   Rome.   (See  R.O. 
Domestic,    Elizabeth,    cxviii.    37    (i.),    where    he   is    called    Stephen 
Sherewin.) 


360 


BLESSED   RALPH   SHERWIN 


up  everything,  embraced  the  Catholic  Faith,  and 
was  received  into  the  Douay  Seminary.  Here  he 
gave  two  years  to  theological  study  and  was  ordained 
priest  by  the  Bishop  of  Cambrai  on  the  23rd  of 
March,  1577.  Often  who  were  raised  to  the  priest 
hood  on  this  occasion,  three  afterwards  gave  their 
lives  for  the  Faith,  the  Venerable  William  Andleby 
in  1597,  Blessed  Lawrence  Johnson  in  1582,  and 
Blessed  Ralph  Sherwin. 

Blessed  Ralph  did  not  enter  at  once  on  the 
English  Mission.  A  few  months  before  his  ordination, 
a  new  Seminary  had  been  begun  in  the  very  heart 
of  Catholic  life,  at  Rome.  The  great  success  of 
Douay,  and  the  unmanageable  numbers  which 
flocked  to  it,  as  well  as  the  difficulty  of  meeting  its 
expenses,  suggested  to  Dr.  Owen  Lewis,  one  of  the 
most  distinguished  and  zealous  of  the  exiles,  and 
through  him  to  Pope  Gregory  XIII.,  the  idea  of 
establishing  another  College,  in  the  ancient  English 
hospice  for  pilgrims  in  Rome.  A  few  students  had 
been  detached  from  Douay  in  1576  to  make  a  begin 
ning,  and  were  lodged  at  first  in  some  houses  near 
St.  Peter's,  then  in  houses  adjoining  the  hospital, 
and  finally  in  the  hospital  itself,  transformed  into  a 
college. 

After  a  pilgrimage  to  the  relics  of  St.  John 
Baptist  honoured  at  Amiens,  Blessed  Ralph  started 
with  two  other  priests  and  a  deacon  for  the  new 
establishment  at  Rome,  on  the  2nd  of  August,  1577. 
He  passed  nearly  three  years  there,  and  has  always 
been  an  object  of  special  veneration  within  its  walls, 
as  the  first  of  its  members  to  suffer  martyrdom. 


BLESSED    RALPH  SHERWIN  361 

The  new  Seminary  had  been  founded  but  a  few 
months  when  very  serious  dissensions  broke  out, 
which  though  healed  for  a  time  were  revived  again 
later,  and  indeed  sowed  the  first  seeds  of  the 
lamentable  discord  between  the  seculars  and  regulars 
which  so  long  added  to  the  afflictions  of  the 
suffering  Church  in  England.  Dr.  Maurice  Clenock, 
the  first  Rector,  was  not  a  happy  appointment ; 
rivalries  and  jealousies  between  the  students  of 
Welsh  and  English  nationality  were  fostered  by 
his  real  or  supposed  partiality  for  his  countrymen, 
and,  worst  of  all,  the  division  amongst  the  students 
soon  involved  the  Society  of  Jesus.  Two  Fathers 
had  from  the  first  been  associated  in  the  manage 
ment  of  the  College,  one  as  Prefect  of  Studies,  the 
other  as  Minister;  they  appear  to  have  fallen  under 
the  suspicions  of  Clenock  as  fomenting  the  discontent 
against  his  government  with  a  view  to  obtaining 
the  entire  direction  for  their  own  Society.  At  all 
events,  the  English  party  not  only  clamoured  to  have 
their  Rector  removed,  but  also  to  have  the  College 
entrusted  to  the  government  of  the  Society.  This 
is  not  the  place  to  enter  further  into  the  question. 
It  is  only  thus  far  touched  upon  because  Blessed 
Ralph  took  a  decided  and  leading  part  in  petitioning 
for  the  Fathers.  He  was  one  of  four  who  urged 
the  suit  at  the  feet  of  the  Pope  himself,  and  again 
and  again  pleaded  with  the  Cardinal  Protector.  On 
one  occasion,  when  all  the  students  were  required  to 
give  the  Cardinal  their  opinions  in  writing,  Sherwin 
wrote, 

"  I,  Ralph  Sherwin,  call  to  witness  God  the  reader 


362  BLESSED   RALPH   SHERWIN 

of  all   hearts,  that   I,  solely  for  the  increase  of  his 
honour   and   the   benefit  of  my  country,  think  and 
humbly  beg  that  the  government  of  this  Seminary 
should  be  committed  to  the  Fathers  of  the  Society. 
"Your  Eminence's  most  humble  son, 
"RALPH  SHERWIN,  Priest."1 

But  all  their  petitions  having  been  rejected,  our 
martyr,  together  with  thirty-two  others,  actually 
accepted  the  alternative  of  leaving  the  Seminary 
rather  than  acquiesce  in  the  existing  state  of  things. 
At  the  last  moment,  however,  when  they  went  to 
obtain  the  Pope's  blessing  before  leaving  Rome,  their 
wishes  were  complied  with,  and  from  this  time  the 
College  was  placed  under  the  government  of  the 
Fathers,  and  so  remained  until  the  suppression  of 
the  Society.  There  seems  no  doubt  that  the  move 
ment  of  which  Blessed  Ralph  was  the  leader  was 
inspired  by  a  generous  desire  for  the  best  training 
in  ecclesiastical  perfection,  and  its  object  had  the 
warm  sympathy  of  Allen. 2 

The  Register  of  the  Alumni  begins  from  the 
time  of  the  Society's  government.  The  first  entry 
is  that  of  the  Blessed  Ralph.  It  is  as  follows  : 

+ 
JESUS,  MARIA. 

The  names  of  the  Alumni. 

On  April  the  23rd,  in  the  year  of  the  Lord 
1579,  it  was  demanded,  in  the  presence  of  the  most 

1  Quoted  by  Father  Persons,  Story  of  Domestical  Difficulties,  p.  67. 
Stonyhurst  MSS. 

'2  See  Dodd,  vol.  ii.  pp.  225,  seq.  and  the  Historical  Introduction 
to  Letters  and  Memorials  of  Cardinal  Allen,  p.  Iviii. 


BLESSED    RALPH    SHERWIN  363 

Reverend  Dom  Spetiano  of  Milan,  holding  the 
place  of  the  most  illustrious  Cardinal  Moroni,  and 
the  Reverend  Fathers  Cola,  Provincial,  and  Robert 
Bellarmine,  of  the  Society  of  Jesus,  from  all  the 
underwritten  scholars,  whether  they  were  prepared 
to  lead  an  ecclesiastical  life,  and  to  proceed  to 
England  whensoever  it  should  seem  good  to 
Superiors,  and  they  replied  as  follows  : 

1579- 

i.  Father  Ralph  Sherwin,  English,  a  priest, 
aged  29,  a  student  of  sacred  theology,  declares  and 
swears  upon  the  Holy  Scriptures  that  he  is  ready 
to-day  rather  than  to-morrow,  at  the  intimation  of 
Superiors,  to  proceed  to  England  for  the  help  of 
souls.  (In  the  margin  by  a  later  hand.}  He  was  sent 
and  became  a  martyr. 

The  Annals  of  the  English  College  says  of  the  holy 
priest,  "  It  were  hardly  possible  to  tell  the  ardour 
wherewith  Sherwin  yearned  to  fly  to  the  help  of  his 
wretched  country.  While  here  in  Rome  the  news 
of  the  inflictions  and  tortures  which  his  Catholic 
fellow-countrymen  were  made  to  suffer,  far  from 
daunting,  fired  him  with  more  intense  longing. 
His  disposition,  talents,  and  virtue  would  have 
enabled  him  to  have  been  of  no  slight  use  to  his 
country  had  he  not  been  seized  soon  after  landing."1 

To  this  encomium  may  be  added  his  great  love 
of  holy  obedience,'2  which  would  not  improbably 
have  led  him  into  a  religious  order,  if  it  had 

1  Foley,  Records  S.J.  vol.  vi.  p.  78. 
2  Cf.  Simpson's  Life  of  Campion,  p.  183. 


364  BLESSED   RALPH   S HER  WIN 

not  been  for  his  still  greater  desire  to  sacrifice 
himself  in  the  work  of  the  English  Mission. 

With  the  year  1580  the  time  drew  near  for  the 
satisfaction  of  his  holy  longings. 

In  the  latter  part  of  1579,  Allen's  influence  had 
succeeded  in  determining  the  Society  of  Jesus  to 
take  a  part  in  the  glorious  labours  and  perils  of  the 
missionary  priests  in  England.  About  the  same 
time  he  made  pressing  representations  to  Pope 
Gregory  XIII.  of  the  urgent  need  of  Bishops  in 
England.  The  great  increase  in  the  numbers  of 
the  clergy  continually  brought  home  the  necessity 
of  some  ecclesiastical  government  on  the  spot, 
and  there  was  also  a  crying  want  of  someone  to 
administer  the  Sacrament  of  Confirmation,  which 
the  English  had  always  regarded  with  special 
devotion,  and  which  was  exceptionally  necessary 
in  the  fiery  persecution  then  raging.  The  Venerable 
Thomas  Goldwell,  Bishop  of  St.  Asaph,  in  spite 
of  age  and  infirmities,  volunteered  for  this  service 
of  toil  and  danger ;  and  after  much  hesitation,  on 
account  of  the  exceptional  risks  he  would  run,  the 
Pope  consented  to  his  departure.  In  the  spring 
of  1580  the  Bishop's  party  and  the  first  Jesuit 
missionaries  set  out  together  from  Rome.  The 
Bishop  was  accompanied  by  Dr.  Nicholas  Morton, 
Prebendary  of  York,  and  now  Penitentiary  of 
St.  Peter's,  and  four  old  priests  from  the  English 
Hospital  at  Rome — Dr.  Brumberg,  William  Giblet, 
Thomas  Crane,  and  William  Kemp — and  the  party 
was  to  be  joined  later  by  Laurence  Vaux,  the 
deprived  WTarden  of  Manchester,  now  at  Louvain, 


BLESSED   RALPH  SHERWIN  365 

who  afterwards  died  in  prison  for  the  Faith.  The 
Jesuits  were  Blessed  Edmund  Campion  and  Father 
Persons,  with  Brother  Ralph  Emerson. 

With  this  noble  company  of  missionaries  three 
of  the  young  seminarist  priests  were  chosen  to 
set  out  for  England,  and  one  of  these  was  Blessed 
Ralph  Sherwin.  The  others  were  Blessed  Luke 
Kirby  and  Edward  Rishton,  and  they  took  with 
them  two  young  laymen,  John  Paschal,  Blessed 
Ralph's  pupil  and  special  charge,  and  Thomas 
Bruscoe  or  Briscoe.  At  this  time  St.  Philip  was  still 
living  at  San  Girolamo  della  Carita,  just  opposite 
the  English  College,  and  there  can  be  little  doubt 
that  the  departing  missionaries,  according  to  the 
custom  observed  as  long  as  the  Saint  lived,  went 
to  get  the  old  man's  blessing  before  they  started.1 
They  all  set  out  on  April  the  i8th,  and  were  accom 
panied  by  a  distinguished  company  of  friends  as  far 
as  the  Ponte  Molle,  where  there  was  an  affectionate 
leave-taking. 

In  this  part  of  the  journey,  at  all  events,  Blessed 
Ralph,  with  the  religious  and  seminarists,  went  on 
foot.  At  Bologna,  where  they  were  delayed  some 
days,  they  received  hospitality  from  Cardinal 
Paleotto,  the  Archbishop,  and  Blessed  Ralph,  as 
well  as  Campion,  was  encouraged  to  speak  on  some 
religious  topic  at  dinner.  At  Milan,  again,  they  were 
received  by  St.  Charles  as  his  own  guests  during 
eight  days,  and  Blessed  Ralph  preached  before  him. 

1  They  were  not  the  first  missionaries  from  the  English  College. 
The  Rev.  John  Askew  had  been  sent  as  early  as  May,  1579,  and 
four  others  on  November  4  of  the  same  year. 


366  BLESSED    RALPH  S HER  WIN 

Though  the  story  of  this  journey  properly  belongs 
to  the  life  of  Blessed  Edmund  Campion,  the  follow 
ing  letter  of  Blessed  Ralph,  describing  to  one  of 
his  friends  at  Rome  their  adventures  at  Geneva, 
naturally  finds  a  place  here.1 

"  My  loving  and  old  acquainted  friend,  Mr. 
Bickley, 

"  Many  just  causes  might  have  moved  me 
ere  this  to  have  saluted  you  by  letters,  but,  in 
truth,  greater  necessities  have  compelled  me  to 
the  contrary.  I  trust  nothing  can  bring  you  into 
sinister  opinion  of  me,  such  is  the  propension  of 
your  sweet  nature.  But  to  let  all  these  terms,  more 
officious  than  needful,  pass,  you  know  by  letters, 
I  hope,  of  all  contingents  that  have  happened  to 
us  between  Rome  and  Turin.  Now  the  rest  of  our 
journey  briefly  I  shall  impart  unto  you. 

"  We  entered  the  Alps  all  in  health,  and  apt  for 
travel  and  passed  them  making  great  journeys 
to  St.  John  Maurien,  where  we  encountered  with 
many  troops  of  the  Spanish  soldiers,  and  by  that 
means  were  somewhat  distressed  for  necessary 
provision  for  man  and  horse.  Thence  we  passed 
to  Aquabella  (Aiguebelle),  where  we  met  with 
another  rout  of  the  army ;  and  here  we  understood, 
if  we  passed  Lyons  way,  we  should  sustain  much 
difficulty  beside  peril  of  the  Dolphinates,2  where  the 

1  This  letter  was  published    (presumably  by  Dr.  G.  Oliver)  in 
vol.  i.  of  the  Catholic  Spectator,  in  1824,  and  again  with  old  spelling, 
and   corrected  readings   by   Father  Pollen,   Journey  of  Blessed  E. 
Campion  (reprint),  p.  25. 

2  The  insurgent  peasants  of  Dauphine. 


BLESSED    RALPH   SHERWIN  367 

rustics  are  in  arms  against  the  nobility.  At 
Aquabella  therefore  we  entered  into  deliberation 
how  to  avoid  these  inconveniences,  and  found  no 
means  but  only  by  Geneva,  and  resolved  all  upon 
that  ;  which  merrily  we  jested  at  and  with  great 
ease  'overcame.  But  before  we  arrived  near  this 
sink  of  heresy  every  man  disguised  himself,  and 
Mr.  Campion  dissembled  his  personage  in  form  of 
a  poor  Irishman,  and  waited  on  Mr.  Paschal  ;  which 
sight,  if  you  had  seen  how  naturally  he  played  his 
part,  the  remembrance  of  it  would  have  made  you 
merry. 

"  Well,  thus  disfigured  we  represented  ourselves 
to  the  gates  of  Geneva,  and  there  by  the  soldiers 
were  demanded  from  whence  we  were  and  whither 
we  went.     After  answer  was  made,  a  captain  com 
manded  one  of  his  soldiers  to  guide  and  conduct  us 
to   the    magistrate,    whom    we    found    in    the    open 
market-place,    and    forthwith    were    demanded    the 
place  from  whence  and  whither  we  travelled  ;  which 
by  us  related  he  demanded  the  cause  why  we  passed 
not  the  ordinary  way.     It  was  answered   to  avoid 
the    Spaniards    and    Dolphinates   who    were    up    in 
arms.     Then   he  asked  what  countrymen  we  were, 
and  it  was  answered   some  English,  some  brought 
up   in   Ireland,   and    here   Mr.  Campion   was  called 
Patrick.     After  this  he   inquired   whether   we  were 
of  their  religion,  and  Mr.  Paschal  answered,  No;  and 
one  other  of  our  company  boldly  told  that  from  the 
first  to  the   last  we  were   all   Catholics.      Then   he 
replied  saying,  '  The  Queen  and  all  England   is  of 
our    religion.'       'No,'    saith    one,    '  there    be    many 


368  BLESSED  RALPH   S HER  WIN 


good  Christian  Catholics,'  though  many  also  as  he 
had  said.  After  this  he  commanded  a  soldier  to 
guide  us  to  our  inn,  and  gave  charge  that  we  should 
be  well  used.  All  this  while,  above  in  chambers 
looking  out,  we  saw  the  long-bearded  ministers  of 
Geneva  who  laughed  at  us  ;  but  if  we  might  have 
had  our  wills  we  would  have  made  them  to  have 
wept  Irish.  Passing  through  the  streets  of  the 
city,  some  said,  'These  are  priests;'  others,  'They 
are  all  religious  men ; '  and  one  would  needs  be 
doing  with  Mr.  Campion,  because  he  went  like 
a  poor  Irish  serving -man,  and  in  Latin  asked 
him,  Cujus  es?  which  he  well  perceiving  answered, 
Senior,  no;  and  the  fellow  therewith  amazed,  said, 
Potesne  loqui  la-tine  ?  and  Mr.  Campion  gave  a  shrink 
with  his  shoulder,  and  so  shaked  off  the  knave. 
Well,  our  inn  being  taken,  forthwith  Father  Persons 
and  Mr.  Paschal  with  Mr.  Patrick  his  man  and 
myself  went  out  to  talk  with  Beza,  whom  we  found 
in  his  house,  and  there  saluted  him,  showing  that 
passing  that  way  we  thought  good  to  see  him,  for 
that  he  was  a  man  talked  of  in  the  world  ;  and 
after  such  speech  Father  Persons  asked  how  their 
Church  was  governed ;  who  said,  by  equality  in 
the  ministry ;  and  that  they  were  nine,  and  every 
one  ruled  his  week.  Then  it  was  said  that  we 
had  Bishops  in  England,  and  how  that  the  Queen 
was  the  continual  head.  He  answered  shamefully 
that  he  knew  not  that  :  but  after  that  assertion, 
though  much  declining,  insinuated  that  he  liked 
that  not ;  yet  being  urged  said,  as  they  commonly 
shift,  that  they  differed  in  discipline  not  in  doctrine. 


BLESSED   RALPH   SHERWIN  369 

All  this  while  Mr.  Campion  stood  waiting  with  hat 
in  his  hand,  facing  out  the  old  doting  heretical  fool. 
After  this  he  told  some  false  bad  news,  and  then 
came  strangers  with  letters  and  so  we  were  enforced 
to  leave  this  reprobate  apostate,  and  returned  to  our 
inn,  where  we  found  Mr.  Powell,  a  familiar  acquaint 
ance  both  of  Mr.  Persons  and  mine,  and  three 
or  four  Irishmen  more,  with  whom  we  had  much 
familiar  speech  and  invited  them  to  supper.  But 
they  refused,  promising  to  repair  to  us  after  we  had 
supped  ;  who  did  so,  and  Mr.  Persons  took  Powell 
in  hand,  and  other  of  us  took  one  Mr.  Browne,  tutor 
unto  young  Hastings  who  shall  be  heir  to  the  Earl 
of  Huntingdon,  a  notable  Puritan  and  Master  of  Arts 
of  Oxford.  With  these  we  disputed  in  the  streets  of 
Geneva  almost  until  midnight,  and  challenged,  by 
them,  Beza  and  his  fellow- ministers  to  dispute  in 
all  controversies,  with  this  condition,  that  he  that 
was  justly  convicted  should  be  burnt  in  the  place: 
which  Mr.  Browne  promised,  but  God  knoweth 
durst  not  perform,  nor  show  himself  to  us  any  more. 
At  length  we  went  to  bed,  and  in  the  morning 
Powell  came  to  us  again  (he  was  of  Corpus  Christi 
College  in  Oxford)  and  broke  his  fast  with  us,  and 
used  us  lovingly  and  brought  us  out  of  the  town  on 
our  journey.  All  this  while  Mr.  Campion  played  the 
serving-man  ;  and  because  he  would  not  be  known 
to  Mr.  Powell,  he  walked  before,  out  of  the  gate  of 
Geneva,  alone ;  and  there  by  chance  met  with  one 
of  the  nine  ministers  of  Geneva,  and  by-and-by 
buckled  with  him  in  questions  about  their  Church 
until  he  had  almost  made  the  fellow  mad  :  for  when 

Y  II. 


37o  BLESSED    RALPH   S HER  WIN 

we  came  in  sight  Mr.  Campion  went  his  way  and  left 
the  heretic;  and  when  we  came  to  him,  he  seemed  to 
be  in  desperation  and  told  us  that  there  was  a  fellow 
held  a  strange  opinion  and  had  mocked  him  about 
his  Church.  Then  all  our  company  fell  upon  him, 
and  shook  up  the  poor  shackerel1  before  the  soldiers 
just  by  the  gate;  until  Mr.  Powell  desired  us  to 
leave,  lest  some  harm  might  grow  to  us  of  it. 
And  then  Mr.  Powell  knew  Mr.  Campion,  and  he 
took  him  and  catechised  him.  Who  said  to  us, 
'  Why  would  you  not  stay  and  dispute  with  Beza  ?  r 
And  then  Father  Campion  told  him,  if  he  would 
assure  us  security,  that  we  would  return  and  deal 
with  all  the  rabble  of  their  ministers.  But  indeed 
he  could  not ;  and  so,  leaving  him  well-minded  to 
read  Catholic  books  and  to  visit  you  in  Rome, 
we  bade  him  farewell  and  so  passed  on  our  journey 
stoutly  until  the  Monday  after  Whit  Sunday^  when 
eight  of  our  company  fell  sick  in  one  night  ;  and 
so  made  small  journeys,  and  all,  save  Mr.  Kemp, 
arrived  in  Rheims  in  health,  the  last  day  of  May. 
And  on  this  4  of  June,  six  of  our  company  and  of 
others  here  parted  towards  England,  and  the  rest 
all  ready  to  dispose  themselves  that  way  in  speed. 
"  Forget  us  not  in  your  prayers.  We  are 
members  of  one  body,  now  ready  to  fall  into  the 
hands  of  the  tyrant.  We  find  all  things  in  this 
College  poor,  but  all  men  religious  and  zealous. 
You  must  labour  lest  you  come  behind  them. 
The  5th  of  June,  Father  Campion  made  a  zealous 

1  A   shackle,    "a    feeble,    diminutive,    half-distorted    person." 
(Jamieson,  Scottish  Dictionary.) 


BLESSED    RALPH   SHERWIN  371 

and  excellent  sermon  to  the  great  consolation  of  all 
this    company :    and    the    6th    day    Father   Persons 
with  four  others  departed   directly  towards  Calais. 
Mr.  Paschal  and  I  were  appointed  to  assist  my  Lord 
Bishop,   and    accompany   him    into   England.     But 
he  suddenly  fell   into   an    ague,1  and   we,  with   Dr. 
Brombrecke,  on  the  loth  of  June,  are  travelling  to 
our    country    with    all    speed.       Mr.  Kirby    cometh 
shortly   after   with   other   priests   of  the    Seminary, 
from  whence  twenty-two  are  gone  since  Easter.  Tell 
Mr.  Gratley  and   Mr.  Harrison  and   Mr.  Tirrell   and 
Mr.  Brucket,  that  I  forgot  them  not  to  Mr.  President, 
who  is  glad  to  hear  of  their  zeal,  but  would  have  them 
come  better  moneyed  than  we  were.   Let  all  them  use 
that   place  virtuously  and    fruitfully  while   they  are 
there  ;   for  I   find  and  well  know  it  is  hard  to  come 
in  the  like.  Tell  my  loving  and  dear  friend  Mr.  Hart, 
your     chamber-fellow,    that     Mr.   Bridgwater     was 
come   to   the   Spa,  which  we  were   sorry   for.     His 
things  were  left  with  Dr.  Allen.     Tell  him  that  if  he 
remember    me   in   his  prayers   that    I    shall    hardly 
forget   him.     Tell  Isaac  that  he  hath  a  brother  here 
at  Rheims,  unto  whom   I   delivered   his  beads.     He 
had   need  to  go   forward  well   in  virtue,  or  else  this 
will  over-reach  him.    Remember  my  commendations 

1  The  age  and  infirmities  of  the  good  Bishop  made  it  plain  that 
he  was  unequal  to  the  mission  he  had  undertaken,  the  growing 
heat  of  the  persecution  in  England  moreover,  and  the  knowledge 
that  special  measures  had  been  taken  to  seize  him  on  his  first 
arrival,  at  length  broke  down  his  resolution.  He  returned  to  Rome 
with  the  Pope's  approval,  and  died  there  in  1585.  (See  Queen 
Elizabeth  and  the  Catholic  Hierarchy,  by  Fathers  Bridget!  and  Knox, 
p.  240.) 


372 


BLESSED   RALPH   SHERWIN 


to  all  your  chamber  and  your  whole  house  ;  no  less 
to  any  than  to  my  inseparable  friend  Mr.  Harrison, 
whom  I  shall  much  look  for.  It  behoveth  all  my 
fellows  and  yours  there  of  Exeter  College,  to  labour 
much,  and  well  to  employ  their  talents,  for  I  hear  that 
College  wholly  to  be  corrupted.  I  commend  me 
to  you  all  whose  company,  to  my  consolation,  I 
hope  at  the  least  in  Heaven  to  enjoy.  Your  prayers 
I  require.  Of  mine,  albeit  of  small  value,  account 
yourself  sure.  Let  Mr.  Barrett  and  Mr.  Middlemore 
understand  that  I  remember  well  what  I  promised 
them  and  will,  by  God's  grace,  perform  the  same. 
Mr.  Lyster's  business  with  his  friends  and  Mr. 
Hollowell's  and  all  others  commended  to  my 
diligence,  I  shall  retain  in  mind.  I  pray  God  they 
forget  me  not  in  their  prayers,  which  in  truth  I 
cannot  distrust.  I  pray  commend  me  to  William 
and  Gilbert  Gifforde,  whom  God  increase  in  virtue 
and  learning  to  the  great  commodity  of  our 
country,  which  hath  great  need  of  such  wits  well 
trained  up  in  Catholic  schools. 

"  Well,  my  loving  friend  Ralph,  even  while  I 
wrote  these  letters,  came  in  Mr.  Paschal  with  the 
frip  to  frenchify  me.  Oh,  miserable  time  when 
a  priest  must  counterfeit  a  cutter :  God  give  us 
still  priests'  minds,  for  we  go  far  astray  from  the 
habit  here.  Mr.  Paschal  crieth,  '  You  will  never  be 
handsome,'  and  I  tell  him  there  was  never  priest 
handsome  in  this  attire.  Thus,  for  Christ,  we  put 
out  ourselves  in  colours  ...  all  which  imperfec 
tions  I  hope  He  hath  washed  away  with  His 
Blood.  My  loving  Ralph,  I  request  thee  once  in 


BLESSED    RALPH   SHERWIN  373 

thy  greatest  fervour  to  say  over  thy  beads  for  me, 
and  procure  as  many  of  my  friends  as  you  can  to 
do  the  same  there,  and  let  your  petition  be  this, 
that  in  humility  and  constancy  with  perseverance  to 
the  end,  I  may  honour  God  in  this  vocation,  where- 
unto  though  unworthy  I  am  called.  And  if  God 
will  use  me,  by  your  intercession,  for  an  instrument 
of  His  glory,  I  shall  offer  all  unto  Him  in  your 
behalf,  that  so  pray  for  me. 

"If  you  write  to  me  as  you  may  by  Rheims, 
you  shall  have  answer  from  me  out  of  England. 
Forget  me  not,  for  I  still  remember  you.  I  iind 
Mr.  Licentiate  (you  know  whom  I  mean,  Mr.  Covert) 
not  inferior  to  my  opinion  which  I  had  conceived 
of  him.  His  labour  and  travail  is  ready  always  for 
our  Catholic  countrymen.  To  some  of  our  Roman 
companions  he  hath  showed  much  friendship,  so 
that  it  maketh  me  marvel  to  see  his  charity.  To 
Mr.  Paschal  and  me  he  hath  let  no  token  of  love 
escape  him.  I  pray  you  to  thank  him  no  less  for 
his  readiness  to  perform  your  desire  than  for  other 
friendship  showed  to  us.  Mr.  Paschal  saluteth  you 
heartily,  and  Mr.  Dr.  Brombrouke. 

"  From  your  loving  companion, 

"  R.  SHERWINE. 

"  From  Paris,  the  nth  of  June,  1580." 

This  delightful  letter  tells  us  more  of  the  martyr's 
character  and  of  his  singular  charm  than  pages  of 
panegyric  could  do.  It  was  evidently  begun  at 
Rheims  and  continued  on  the  journey.  Blessed 
Ralph  left  Rheims  on  June  the  8th.  The  mission- 


374  BLESSED   RALPH   SHERWIN 

aries  had  separated  and  taken  different  routes  in  the 
hopes  of  baffling  the  spies  of  Walsingham. 

It  is  surprising  that  the  martyr  could  find  time 
to  write  such  a  long  letter  at  a  time  like  this, 
especially  as  Ralph  Bickley  was  not  his  only  corres- 
pendent.  His  loving  heart  was  still  with  his  friends 
at  Rome,  and  found  its  consolation  in  imparting  to 
them  its  joys,  and  hopes,  and  sorrows. 

Thus,  as  soon  after  his  arrival  at  Rheims  as 
June  the  4th,  Blessed  Ralph  began  a  long  letter, 
directed  to  Father  Agazzari,  S.J.,  which  is  still 
preserved  as  a  precious  relic  at  Stonyhurst.  This 
letter  is  of  course  in  Latin.  After  describing  their 
adventures  at  Geneva  much  as  in  the  letter  already 
quoted,  he  thus  continues  : 

"  Oh  what  a  joy  to  ours  from  Rome  to  see  the 
College  full !  Allen  the  same  as  ever  embraces 
us  as  sons  with  exultant  joy  and  cherishes  us  most 
tenderly.  But  we  shall  soon  bid  farewell  and  leave 
him,  for  we  are  not  forgetful  of  the  goal.  There  is 
one  thing  I  especially  wish  to  impress  on  your 
Paternity,  that  is  that  all  our  outfit  of  clothing  is  of 
no  use  at  all,  and  unless  you  provide  better  for  the 
others,  they  will  be  unable  to  carry  out  their  mission 
as  they  should.  I  do  not  like  to  say  in  what  great 
straits  we  are  placed,  but  they  are  certainly  very 
great  indeed,  and  we  hope  the  Pope  will  be  informed 
of  it  at  a  fitting  opportunity,  in  order  that  the  others 
may  be  better  provided  for.  Not  the  double  of 
what  we  received  for  travelling  expenses  would  be 
really  sufficient.  Believe  me,  everything  has  to  be 


BLESSED   RALPH  SHERWIN  375 

new,  from  the  sole  of  the  foot  to  the  top  of  the  head. 
Let  it  be  enough  to  have  mentioned  this  ;  my  heart 
is  broken  as  I  think  of  the  straits  we  are  in,  and  our 
Fathers  also,  and  yet  Father  Robert  [Persons]  has 
foreseen  all  and  arranges  everything  with  the  greatest 
zeal  and  prudence.  Paschal  would  have  written,  but 
he  is  taken  up  with  other  business ;  he  salutes  your 
Reverence  whom  he  reveres  as  a  father,  as  indeed  all 
the  others  do.  I  am  yours  and  shall  always  be  ;  I 
depend  on  your  prayers,  and  desire  to  send  my 
greetings  to  all  your  Fathers  and  my  brethren.  In 
two  days  we  start  for  England.. 
"June  the  4th." 

The  letter  was  then  closed  up,  but  as  there 
was  no  opportunity  of  sending  it  off  before  they 
left  Rheims,  they  took  it  with  them  to  Paris. 
Here  it  was  re-opened,  and  Paschal  added  a  post 
script,  in  which  he  begged  that  his  old  friends  might 
pray  for  him  as  "for  an  important  intention  of 
Father  Rector's."  Blessed  Ralph  also  added  a  long 
postscript,  dated  Paris,  June  the  loth.  That  the 
letter  was  closed  and  re-opened  appears  from  the  fact 
that  the  writing  of  the  postscripts  goes  round  the 
little  holes  through  which  the  fastener  went.  It  is 
all  written  in  Sherwin's  cursive  hand,  and  the  last 
part  very  hurriedly.1  We  quote  a  part  of  the 
martyr's  postscript. 

"  On  June  the  4th,  Father  Rishton  and  Father 
Crane,  with  Briscoe  and  two  others  of  the  Rheims 

1  It  may  be  interesting  to  note  that  Sherwin  uses  very  few 
capitals,  not  even  after  full  stops,  or  for  the  name  of  God,  &c. 
Paschal  seems  to  use  capitals  instead  of  any  stops. 


376  BLESSED   RALPH    S HER  WIN 

Seminary,  namely,  Doctor  Ely  and  John  Hart, 
priest,  set  out  for  England.1  On  the  5th,  Father 
Campion  preached  an  excellent  sermon  in  English, 
and  on  the  6th  left  Rheims  with  a  view  to  England, 
together  with  Father  Robert,  Mr.  Giblet,  the  lay- 
brother,  and  Father  Robert's  brother.2  .  .  .  They 
say  here  that  our  names  are  betrayed  to  the  enemy, 
but  let  them  say  and  plot  what  they  like,  we  shall 
take  our  lives  in  our  hands,  and  if  your  prayers  are 
not  wanting  to  us,  we  shall  break  through  the  ranks 
of  our  foes.  Your  Paternity  knows  what  power  the 
assiduous  prayer  of  a  just  man  has  with  God  ;  we 
ask  that  this  may  be  offered  for  us  fervently  and 
constantly.  Believe  me,  that  the  nearer  we  get  to 
the  labours  and  perils  of  England,  the  more  eagerly 
we  advance  upon  the  country  commended  to  our 
zeal  and  the  burden  laid  upon  our  shoulders.  Nor 
is  there  any  reason  why  we  should  fear  much  as  to 
a  victorious  result,  for  our  Master  and  Redeemer 
has  conquered  the  world  long  ago,  has  conquered, 
I  say,  and  now  He  calls  us,  not  so  much  to  the 
conflict  as  to  the  crown." 

The  blessed  martyr  then  goes  on  to  send  loving 
salutations  to  the  friends  he  has  left  in  Rome,  to 
the  Jesuit  Fathers  in  particular,  especially  to  the 
Father  General,  Father  Robert  Bellarmine,  and 
others  whom  he  names  ;  "  to  all  the  English,  both 
ours  and  yours,  among  whom  John  Buxton  must 

1  The    Douay  Diaries  says   June   5,    and    substitutes  Cottam's 
name  for  Briscoe's,  p.  166. 

2  The  Diarist   says    Briscoe   went   with    this   party,   but  adds 
quod  existimo.     Sherwin  is  more  likely  to  be  correct. 


BLESSED   RALPH  S HER IV IN 


377 


take  the  first  place."  He  commends  his  "spiritual 
sons,  Hodson  and  Lyster,"  to  the  Rector's  special 
care  ;  and,  finally,  "  I  leave  out  no  one,  though  I 
forbear  from  prudence  to  name  each  one  separately/' 
He  then  concludes  : 

"  God  grant  that  we  may  so  run  that,  as  we 
hope,  once  the  tabernacle  of  this  body  is  laid 
aside,  we  may  obtain.  And  so  farewell  wens  suaris- 
siimis  Alphonsus,  may  God  grant  you  an  abundant 
reward,  for  only  He  can  give  you  a  worthy  one, 
and  it  is  not  right  to  hope  for  it  from  any  but 
from  Him.  .  .  .  One  thing  I  truly  and  sincerely 
desire  your  Paternity  to  understand,  that  we  have 
made  this  journey  together,  with  the  greatest  union 
of  hearts  and  an  increase  of  spiritual  love,  in  which 
thing  your  Fathers  both  by  example  and  help  have 
indeed  acted  the  parts  of  true  Religious.  These 
tidings  (with  our  humble  greeting,  please,  from  his 
and  your  disciples)  we  desire  should  be  imparted 
to  Father  General,  that  in  this  at  least  he  may 
take  some  consolation,  that  we  are  of  one  mind, 
one  will,  and  one  counsel  in  all  things  with  his 
Fathers.  May  God  preserve  him  as  long  as 
possible  for  the  good  of  England.  Again  farewell, 
and  remember  your  sons. 

"Ex  latcbrts  Lutetice  die  10  Junii" 

From  Paris  the  little  party  made  their  way  to 
Rouen,  where  no  doubt  they  stayed  with  Sherwin's 
uncle,  John  Woodward,  a  priest  who  lived  in  exile 
there,  and  whom  Blessed  Ralph  loved  as  a  father. 


378  BLESSED   RALPH   SHERWIN 

Their  stay  was  a  longer  one  than  was  at  first 
intended.  We  have  a  letter  which  Sherwin  wrote 
to  Father  Agazzari,  on  the  day  of  his  leaving  Rouen 
to  continue  his  perilous  journey  to  England.  The 
date  is  August  the  ist.  It  is  not  clear  what  can 
have  been  the  cause  of  this  delay  of  nearly  six 
weeks ;  for  in  his  letter  from  Paris,  he  says  : 
"  We  are  travelling  to  our  country  with  all  speed." 
Probably  it  is  accounted  for  by  the  illness  of  young 
Paschal,  referred  to  in  the  letter,  which  is  as 
follows  : 

"  JESUS  +  MARY. 
"  My  very  dear  Father  Alphonsus, 

"Exactly  on  the  feast  of  St.  Peter's 
Chains,  I  left  Rouen  and  started  for  England, 
Paschal  being  well  advanced  towards  his  recovery. 
I  have  no  little  hope  that  He  who  protected  the 
Prince  of  the  Apostles  in  his  chains  will  mercifully 
defend  us  in  all  our  miseries.  Being  on  the  point  of 
departure,  Reverend  Father,  because  I  cannot  say 
much,  in  one  word  I  recommend  my  heart  and  my 
soul  and  myself  to  you,  as  to  a  most  loving  parent. 
And  because  I  know  well  with  what  eagerness  your 
Reverence  seeks  after  docile  young  men,  who  are 
not  less  powerful  in  intellect  than  fervent  in 
religious  piety ;  lo  !  this  Edward  Throckmorton,1 
the  bearer  of  my  letter,  is  of  good  family  and 
exceedingly  well  instructed  in  polite  learning,  and, 
as  I  know  by  experience,  very  praiseworthy  in  the 
pursuit  of  virtue  and  holiness :  wherefore  I  recom- 

1  Throckmorton  died  two  years  and  some  months  later  in  the 
odour  of  sanctity  at  the  English  College  in  Rome. 


BLESSED    RALPH   SHERWIN  379 

mend  him  to  your  charity  no  less  than  myself. 
Whatever  service  you  render  him,  consider  that  it 
is  rendered  to  me,  your  most  obedient  son.  And 
so  farewell,  my  very  holy  Father,  and  remember 
sometimes  your  son  Sherwin,  who  never  forgets  his 
Father  Alphonsus  in  his  prayers. 

"  In  haste,  your  most  obedient  son, 

"  RALPH  SHERWIN. 
"  Rouen,  August  i,  1580. 

'To  the  Reverend  Father  in  Christ,  Father 
Alphonsus  Agazzari,  Rector  of  the  English  College. 
(Rome.)"1 

Of  the  martyr's  further  journey,  or  how  he  passed 
the  first  perils  of  landing  in  England,  we  find  no 
account.  Once  in  this  country,  the  self-sacrificing 
devotion  of  George  Gilbert  and  his  friends  would 
have  greatly  facilitated  the  movements  and  com 
munication  of  the  missionaries.  It  must  have  been 
by  this  means,  no  doubt,  that  he  kept  up  correspon 
dence  with  Father  Persons,  who  writes  of  the  holy 
priest  that  he  would  do  nothing  without  consulting 
him. 

Of  his  ministry  a  priest  wrote  from  England  to 
Father  Agazzari  :'2  "  Your  Sherwin  who  burned  with 
such  zeal  at  Rome,  with  no  less  ardour  of  spirit 

1  The  original  holograph  is  at  Stonyhurst.  (Anglia,  i.  fol.  32,  n.  9.) 
It  is  sealed,  and  is  written  in  a  fine,  bold  hand,  the  letters  almost 
printed.     The  signature,  however,  is  in  a  cursive  English  hand. 

2  The  writer  is  evidently  Father  Persons  himself,  and  the  date 
must  be  August,   1581.     He    is,  however,  mistaken  in   saying  that 
Sherwin's   missionary    career    lasted    for   six    months.      We    have 
seen  that  he  did  not  leave  Rouen  till  August  i,  and  he  was  taken 
in  November. 


38o  BLESSED   RALPH   SHERWIN 

spent  nearly  six  entire  months  preaching  in  various 
parts  of  the  kingdom  :  in  this  work  he  enjoyed  a 
very  special  grace  and  ascendency  :  and  it  seemed 
as  if  Divine  Providence  meant  to  reward  such 
great  labours  by  disposing  that  he  should  be  taken 
in  the  very  act  of  preaching  in  London." 

In  November  he  met  Persons  for  the  first  time 
since  they  had  parted  at  Rheims,  and  the  Jesuit 
gives  the  following  account  of  the  meeting. 

"  We  met  the  night  that  Bosgrave  followed  me 
home  from  Hogsdon.  We  passed  the  night  together 
in  spiritual  conference  ;  wherein  he  told  me  of  his 
desire  to  die.  The  next  day  he  came  to  tell  me 
what  danger  we  were  in,  and  then  went  away  to 
preach.  For  we  had  agreed  that  he  should  stay  in 
London  for  the  arrival  of  a  certain  gentleman  who 
had  asked  for  him,  and  in  the  meantime  should 
occupy  himself  with  preaching.  And  it  was  while 
preaching  in  Mr.  Roscarrock's  house  that  he  was 
captured.  I  think  he  was  the  first  of  our  confra 
ternity  that  was  taken,  though  he  was  not  the  first 
priest  caught  since  our  arrival,  for  Bosgrave  and 
Hart  were  already  in  prison."' 

Nicholas     Roscarrock3    was     a     gentleman    of 

1  Persons'  edition  of  Rish ton's  Continuation  of  Sander,  Cologne, 
1610,  p.  405.  (Latin.) 

2  Simpson's  Life  of  Campion,  p.  183. 

8  "  The  family  of  Roscarrock  is  populous,  but  of  them  two 
brothers,  Hugh  for  his  civil  carriage,  and  Nicholas  for  his  industrious 
delight  in  matters  of  history  and  antiquity,  do  merit  a  commending 
remembrance."  (Carew's  Survey,  apud  J.  Morris,  Troubles,  i.  p.  95-) 


BLESSED   RALPH   SHERWIN  381 

fortune,  living  in  London,  and  a  great  friend  of 
priests. 

It  is  not  known  how  or  by  whom  the  capture 
was  effected.  But  the  Council  were  well  informed 
as  to  the  missionaries  who  had  succeeded  in  enter 
ing  the  country :  they  were  stung  by  the  boldness  of 
Blessed  Edmund  Campion's  Challenge  which  was 
circulated  early  in  September ;  no  fewer  than  four 
proclamations  had  been  put  forth  between  the 
arrival  of  the  missionaries  in  England  and  the  end 
of  November,  and  the  Government  spies  were 
furnished  with  minute  descriptions  of  the  priests. 
It  is  not  surprising,  therefore,  that  they  succeeded 
in  tracking  down  one  after  another. 

Blessed  Ralph  was  committed  to  the  Marshalsea 
Prison.  Here  he  was  loaded  with  heavy  irons. 

The  priest  (i.e.,  Father  Persons)  whose  letter  has 
already  been  quoted  gives  a  touching  account  of 
this  incident  in  the  letter  to  Father  Agazzari  already 
referred  to. 

"  When  Sherwin  was  taken  into  the  inner  court 
of  the  prison,  they  fastened  on  him  very  heavy 
fetters,  which  he  could  scarcely  move.  The  gaolers 
then  went  away  to  see  in  what  cell  or  dungeon  he 
was  to  be  confined.  On  this,  looking  round  and 
finding  himself  alone,  he  gazed  up  to  heaven  with 
a  face  full  of  joy  and  gave  God  thanks.  Then, 
looking  down  again  at  his  feet  loaded  with  chains, 
he  tried  whether  he  could  move  them  ;  but  when  he 
heard  the  clank  of  the  chains  as  he  stirred,  he  could 
not  help  breaking  out  into  laughter,  and  then  again 


382  BLESSED   RALPH   SHERWIN 


into  tears  of  happiness,  and  with  hands  and  eyes 
lifted  up  to  heaven  betraying  the  greatness  of  his 
joy.  This  scene  was  witnessed  by  two  heretics  of 
the  '  family  of  love  '  who  were  confined  in  a 
neighbouring  part  of  the  prison,  and  who  were 
filled  with  astonishment ;  and  who  have  again  and 
again  related  it  since." 

The  writer  goes  on  to  quote  a  letter  of  the  martyr 
from  his  prison. 

"  Two  days  before  his  capture  Sherwin  spent  the 
night  with  me,  and  the  cold  being  very  severe  (for 
winter  had  set  in)  slipped  himself  in  with  much 
difficulty  between  two  or  three  of  us  at  the  very 
small  fire  which  we  had.  He  alludes  to  this  in  a 
letter  which  he  wrote  to  me  six  days,  I  think,  after 
his  arrest. 

"  '  I  have  received  the  alms  you  sent  me  yester 
day.  May  God  repay  you.  I  had  but  very  little 
before.  When  it  is  spent,  I  shall  go  down  to  my 
brothers  the  thieves  in  the  pit,  and  subsist  on  the 
common  basket  of  alms :  and  I  shall  go  to  it  with 
more  alacrity  than  ever  to  any  banquet ;  for  that 
bread  of  charity,  for  my  Lord's  sake,  will  be  sweeter 
to  me  than  honey  or  all  kinds  of  dainties. 

"  '  I  wear  now  on  my  feet  and  legs  some  little 
bells,1  to  keep  me  in  mind  who  I  am,  and  whose 
I  am.  I  never  heard  such  sweet  harmony  before. 
If  I  were  with  you  again,  they  would  make  room 
for  me  at  the  fire,  and  you  would  not  crowd  upon 

1  His  chains. 


BLESSED    RALPH   SHERWIN  383 

me.     Pray  for  me  that  I  may  finish  my  course  with 
courage  and  fidelity.' ' 

Blessed  Ralph  spent  a  month  in  the  Marshalsea. 
During  this    interval    a    message    from    the   Knight 
Marshal  was  brought  by  the  keeper  of  the  prison, 
inquiring   whether    there   were   any   Papists   in   the 
prison  who  dared  accept  a  challenge  to  disputation, 
and    if  so,   bidding  them    name   the   questions  they 
were  prepared  to  defend.    On  which  Blessed  Ralph, 
together    with     Father    James     Bosgrave,    and    the 
Rev.  John    Hart,   who   were    in    the    same    prison, 
gladly  "offered  themselves  to  the  combat,  drew  up 
questions,   subscribed  their  names,   and    sent   them 
to  the  said   Knight  Marshal."     Such  at  least  is  the 
account  of  the  matter  given  in  the  Briefc  Plistoric,1 
whilst    Mr.  Simpson,  a    little    less    accurately,   says 
Blessed   Sherwin,  immediately  on   his  confinement, 
gave    a    general    challenge    to    heretics    to    dispute 
with  him.     The  disputation  never  came  off:   for  the 
very  day  before  that  fixed  for  it  he  was  removed  from 
the  Marshalsea.     Before  this  happened  he  had  the 
sorrow  of  seeing  his  pupil,  young  Paschal,  brought 
to  the  prison.     On  the  other  hand,  he  had  the  joy 
of  carrying  on  his  apostolate  within  his  very  prison. 
The  Diary  of  the  English  College  of  Rome  says  "  he 
reconciled     many    of     his     fellow-captives    to    the 
Church.''     Among  them  there  happened  just  then 
to  be  two   members   of  the  disgraceful   sect  of  the 
"  family  of   love  "  who   were   in   prison    for   heresy. 
They   made  an   attentive  study  of  Sherwin,  whose 
cell  was  next  to  theirs.     Seeing  the  joy  and  delight 

1  Life  of  Campion,  p.  183. 


BLESSED    RALPH   SHERWIN 


he  seemed  to  take  in  his  fetters,  they  regarded  him 
as  a  lunatic,  not  knowing  that  the  inward  consola 
tion  and  delight  which  appeared  in  his  bright  and 
cheerful  bearing  sprang  from  the  fact  that  he  was  a 
"  prisoner  of  Christ,"  as  in  his  letters  he  was  wont 
to  style  himself.  On  making  closer  acquaintance 
with  him  they  soon  discovered  that  far  from 
being  a  madman,  he  not  only  had  his  senses  about 
him,  but  was  very  learned.  Having  on  one  occasion 
prolonged  the  conversation  till  it  was  time  for 
Sherwin  to  resume  his  Breviary,  he  politely  begged 
to  be  excused,  and  kneeling  down  said  his  prayers 
with  all  reverence  and  devotion,  at  which  they  were 
greatly  impressed.  At  the  evening  meal  they  began 
to  talk  about  religion,  and  after  a  long  dispute  they 
were  so  won  over  by  Sherwin's  reasons  that  he  soon 
after  reconciled  them  to  the  Church.  Abjuring 
the  immoral  heresy  for  which  they  had  been  arrested, 
they  made  profession  of  the  Catholic  Faith,  and 
were  on  that  account  still  kept  in  prison. 

On  December  the  4th,1  without  a  word  of 
previous  warning,  he  was  transferred  to  the  Tower 
—an  ominous  change,  foreshadowing  the  infliction 
of  torture.  There  were  no  conveniences  for  its  use 
in  most  of  the  other  prisons.  In  the  long,  vaulted 
dungeon  under  the  armoury  of  the  Tower,  the  rack 
and  the  "scavenger's  daughter"  were  always  ready 
and  seldom  idle.  On  the  same  day,  but  from  other 
prisons,  there  arrived  the  Blessed  Thomas  Cottam, 

1  See  Life  of  Campion,  by  Simpson,  p.  184,  who  examined  the 
Tower  bills.  The  Diarist  says  the  5th  ;  he  probably  heard  of  their 
arrival  only  on  the  next  day. 


BLESSED   RALPH   SHERWIN  385 


Robert  Johnson,  and  Luke  Kirby,  and  also  his 
good  host,  Nicholas  Roscarrock.  The  Diary  of  the 
Tower  begins  in  the  winter  of  this  year,  and  from 
it  we  learn  that  Blessed  Ralph  was  put  upon 
the  rack  for  the  first  time  on  December  the  i5th, 
and  "  severely  tortured."  A  list  of  questions  drawn 
up  by  the  Council  was  put  to  him.  Why  did  the 
Pope  send  him  and  his  companions  ?  To  whom 
were  they  specially  directed  to  repair  ?  What  hopes 
had  they  of  an  invasion  of  Ireland  ?  Why  had  the 
Bishop  of  St.  Asaph,  Dr.  Morton,  and  others  come 
from  Rome  to  Paris?  Who  had  relieved  them? 
Had  the  Queen  of  Scots  given  them  anything? 
Whom  had  they  reconciled  ?  What  communications 
had  they  had  with  Campion  ?  Where  was  he  ? 
Had  they  had  any  communication  with  the  Bishop 
of  Ross,  or  Dr.  Sander?  Who  were  the  Irishmen 
most  noted  as  favourers  of  the  rebellion  there  ? 1 
He  was  also  asked  whether  he  had  said  Mass  at 
Mr.  Roscarrock's,  what  money  he  had  received  from 
him,  and  whom  he  had  reconciled  in  prison, 

It  was  now  the  middle  of  December,  and  the 
snow  was  falling  thick,  and  after  the  torture  he  was 
laid  out,  helpless  and  in  agony,  in  the  snow.  The 
object  of  this  was  the  infliction  of  a  piece  of 
scientific  cruelty  on  his  friend,  Mr.  Roscarrock,  who 
was  thus  made  to  hear,  from  a  cell  near  the  open 
courtyard,  the  martyr's  pitiful  groans.  But  this 
terrible  trial  not  having  overcome  his  constancy, 
Roscarrock  was  himself  racked  on  January  the  I4th.'2 

1  Simpson's  Campion,  p.  189.  Quoted  in  full  in  the  life  of  Kirby. 
2  Diary  of  the  Tower. 

Z  II. 


386 


BLESSED   RALPH    S HER  WIN 


On   December  the   i6th,  the  next  day  after  his 
first  racking,  Blessed    Ralph  was  again  put  to  the 
torture.     His  brother  John  afterwards  testified  that 
the  martyr  gave   him   the  following  account  of  his 
sufferings,  when  he  visited  him  in  the  Tower:   "That 
he  had  been  twice  racked,  and  the  latter  time  he  lay 
five  days  and  nights  without  any  food  or  speaking  to 
anybody.     All  which  time  he  lay,  as  he  thought  in 
a    sleep,   before    our   Saviour    on   the   Cross.     After 
which   time    he    came  to    himself,   not   finding   any 
distemper    in    his   joints    by   the    extremity   of    the 
torture."1     His  brother  added,  "  It  was  offered  him 
by  the  Bishops  of  Canterbury  and  London,  that  if 
he  would  but  go  to  Paul's  Church,  he  should  have 
the  second   bishopric   of  England."     It  was  just  at 
this  time  that   his   pupil,  Mr.  Paschal,  was  brought 
from   the  Marshalsea   to  the  Tower.     He  does   not 
seem  to  have  been  tortured,  but  on  January  the  I5th 
was  brought  handcuffed  before   Sir  Owen  Hopton, 
Lieutenant  of  the  Tower,   at  the  Guildhall.      The 
Lieutenant    had    probably   been    able   to    form    an 
estimate  of  the  unfortunate  young  man's  character; 
and  by  a  skilful  mixture  of  threats  and  flattery,  he 
induced  him  to  purchase  his  freedom   by  apostasy. 
This  was  no  doubt  a  worse  trial  to  the  martyr  than 
his  own  racking. 

On  the  same  day  all  the  Catholic  prisoners  were 
forced  by  the  military  to  go  to  the  Protestant 
church.  This  tyranny  was  repeated  on  the  26th, 
and  on  February  the  5th,  from  which  time  until 
i  MS  relation  of  Richard  Broughton,  in  the  Archives  of  the 
See  of  Westminster,  vol.  iv.  p.  119.  The  passage  is  quoted  by 
Challoner. 


BLESSED   RALPH   SHERWIN  387 


"  the  festival  of  the  following  Pentecost  we  were 
dragged,"  says  the  diarist,  "by  the  hands  of  our 
keepers  and  the  soldiers,  on  all  Sundays,  to  hear 
heretical  sermons ;  "  but  the  prisoners  interrupted 
the  preachers,  sometimes  hooting  them  away,  at 
others  convicting  them  of  falsehood,  or  challenging 
them  to  disputation. 

On  midsummer  day  they  were  all  summoned 
to  the  presence  of  the  Lieutenant,  by  a  special 
commission  from  the  Council,  and  asked  if  they 
would  attend  Protestant  service.  Blessed  Ralph 
of  course  refused,  and  was  then  told  that  he  would 
be  indicted,  within  a  few  days,  on  the  Statute  of 
Recusancy  which  had  just  been  passed.  This 
circumstance  is  important,  as  indicating  that  the 
condemnation  of  the  martyrs,  on  the  grave  charge 
afterwards  brought  against  them,  had  not  yet  been 
decided  upon. 

Our  martyr's  imprisonment  lasted  more  than 
a  year.  Probably  he  never  doubted  from  the  first 
how  it  would  end.  He  had  led  a  penitential  life 
before,  but  now  in  preparation  for  his  last  combat 
he  was  not  content  with  what  others  inflicted  on 
him.  "The  order  of  his  life,"  says  the  Briefe 
Historic,  "in  his  spare  diet,  his  continual  prayer 
and  meditation,  his  long  watching,  with  frequent 
and  sharp  discipline  used  upon  his  body,  caused 
great  admiration  to  his  keeper,  who  would  always 
call  him  a  man  of  God,  and  the  best  and  devoutest 
priest  that  he  ever  saw  in  his  life." 

His  trial  in  its  general  features  has  been  described 
in  that  of  Blessed  Edmund  Campion.  All  that  is 


388  BLESSED   RALPH   SHERWIN 


special  to  him  in  the  Protestant  account  preserved  in 
the  Harleian  MSS.1  is  as  follows: 

"  Evidence  was  next  given  against  Sherwin,  who, 
before  the  Commissioners,  had  refused  to  swear  to 
the  Supremacy,  neither  would  answer  plainly  what 
he  thought  of  the  Pope's  Bull,  but  confessed  that 
his  coming  into  England  was  to  persuade  the  people 
to  the  Catholic  religion. 

"  Queen's  Counsel. — You  well  knew  that  it  was 
not  lawful  for  you  to  persuade  the  Queen's  subjects 
to  any  other  religion  than  by  her  Highness's  instruc 
tions  is  already  professed,  and  therefore  if  there  had 
not  been  a  further  matter  in  your  meaning  you  would 
have  kept  your  conscience  to  yourself  and  yourself 
where  you  were. 

"Sherwin.  —  We  read  that  the  Apostles  and 
Fathers  in  the  primitive  Church  have  taught  and 
preached  in  the  dominions  and  empires  of  ethnical 
and  heathen  rulers,  and  yet  were  not  deemed  worthy 
of  death.  The  sufferance  perhaps  and  the  like 
toleration,  I  well  hoped  for  in  such  a  common 
wealth,  as  where  open  Christianity  and  godliness  is 
pretended.  And  albeit  in  such  a  diversity  of  religion, 
it  was  to  be  feared  lest  I  should  not  discharge  my 
conscience  without  fear  of  danger,  yet  ought  I  not 
therefore  to  surcease  in  my  functions;  although  that 
conscience  is  very  wandering  and  unsteady,  which 
with  fear  of  danger  draweth  from  duty. 

"  One  of  the  Judges. — But  your  case  differeth  from 
theirs  in  the  primitive  Church,  for  that  those  Apostles 

1  B.M.  Harleian,  6265,  printed  in  Cobbett's  State  Trials,  vol.  i. 
1050,  and  Simpson's  Campion. 


BLESSED    RALPH   S HER  WIN  389 

and  preachers  never  conspired  the  death  of  the 
emperors  and  rulers,  in  whose  dominions  they  so 
taught  and  preached. 

"The  Clerk  of  the  Crown  read  a  letter  which 
showeth  that,  by  the  fireside  in  the  English  Seminary 
beyond  the  seas,  Sherwin  should  say  that  if  he  were 
in  England  he  could  compass  many  things :  that 
there  was  one  Arundell  in  Cornwall  who,  at  an 
instant,  could  levy  a  great  power:  and  that  if  an 
army  were  to  be  sent  into  England  the  best  landing 
would  be  at  St.  Michael's  Mount. 

"  Sherii-in. — I  never  spake  any  such  matter,  God 
is  my  record  :  neither  was  it  ever  the  least  part  of 
my  meaning." 

There  was  of  course,  if  not  justice,  at  least  statute 
law  for  his  condemnation,  had  he  been  tried  upon  it. 
On  the  charge  brought  against  him,  sentence  was 
inexcusable.  He  spoke  the  simple  truth  when  he 
exclaimed,  'The  plain  reason  of  our  standing 
here  is  religion  and  not  treason."  The  wretched 
trumped  -  up  story  of  a  conspiracy  would  be 
laughed  or  hooted  out  of  court  at  the  present  day, 
it  was  not  believed  then.  It  was  not  believed  by 
Elizabeth,  as  Camden,  her  panegyrist,  admits.1  It 

1  "The  Queen,  to  take  away  the  fear  which  had  possessed  many 
men's  minds  that  religion  would  be  altered  and  Popery  tolerated, 
being  overcome  by  importunate  entreaties,  permitted  that  Edmund 
Campion  aforesaid  of  the  Society  of  Jesus,  Ralph  Sherwin,  Luke 
Kirby,  and  Alexander  Briant,  priests,  should  be  arraigned,"  and  a 
little  further  on,  "  Yet  for  the  greater  part  of  these  silly  priests  (he 
is  speaking  here  of  the  missionaries  generally)  she  did  not  at  all 
believe  them  guilty  of  plotting  the  destruction  of  their  country." 
(Bk.  iii.  ann.  1581.) 


3go  BLESSED    RALPH   SHERWIN 

was  not  believed  by  her  Ministers,  who  thought  the 
sacrifice  of  these  men  necessary  to  quiet  the  ferment 
to  which  the  report  of  her  intended  marriage  with 
the  Duke  of  Anjou  had  given  occasion. 

But  his  condemnation  was  the  beginning  of  his 
victory,  and  when  it  was  pronounced  he  cried, 
"This  is  the  day  which  the  Lord  hath  made,  let 
us  exult  and  be  glad  therein."  And  going  back  to 
his  prison  he  wrote  to  some  of  his  friends. 

"Your  liberality  I  have  received  and  disposed 
thereof  to  my  great  contentation.  When  hereafter 
at  the  pleasure  of  God,  we  shall  meet  in  Heaven, 
I  trust  you  shall  be  repaid  cum  fcenore.  Delay  of 
our  death  doth  somewhat  dull  me.  It  was  not 
without  cause  that  our  Master  Himself  said,  Quod 
fads,  fac  cito. 

"  Truth  it  is,  I  hoped  ere  this,  casting  off  this 
body  of  death,  to  have  kissed  the  precious,  glorified 
wounds  of  my  sweet  Saviour,  sitting  in  the  throne 
of  His  Father's  own  glory.  Which  desire,  as  I  trust, 
descending  from  above,  hath  so  quieted  my  mind 
that  since  the  judicial  sentence  proceeded  against  us, 
neither  the  sharpness  of  the  death  hath  much  terri 
fied  me,  nor  the  shortness  of  life  much  troubled  me. 

"  My  sins  are  great,  I  confess  :  but  I  flee  to 
God's  mercy.  My  negligences  are  without  number 
I  grant,  but  I  appeal  to  my  Redeemer's  clemency. 
I  have  no  boldness  but  in  His  Blood.  His  bitter 
Passion  is  my  only  consolation.  It  is  comfortable 
that  the  prophet  hath  recorded,  which  is,  '  He  hath 
written  us  in  His  hands.'  Oh,  that  He  would 


BLESSED   RALPH   SHERW1N  391 

vouchsafe  to  write  Himself  in  our  hearts.  How 
joyful  should  we  then  appear  before  the  tribunal- 
seat  of  His  Father's  glory:  the  dignity  whereof 
when  I  think  of,  my  flesh  quaketh,  not  sustaining, 
by  reason  of  mortal  infirmity,  the  presence  of  my 
Creator's  Majesty. 

"  Our  Lord  perfect  us  to  that  end  whereunto 
we  were  created,  that  leaving  this  world  we  may 
live  in  Him  and  of  Him,  world  without  end.  It  is 
thought  that  upon  Monday  or  Tuesday  next  we 
shall  be  passible.  God  grant  us  humility,  that 
we,  following  His  footsteps,  may  obtain  the 
victory."  1 

Two  days  before  his  death,  coming  with  Blessed 
Edmund  Campion  out  of  the  Lieutenant's  hall, 
where  they  had  been  disputing  with  some  minister, 
he  looked  up  at  the  sun  and  said,  "Ah,  Father 
Campion,  I  shall  soon  be  above  yonder  fellow." 

On  the  eve  of  his  passion  he  wrote  to  his  uncle, 
the  Rev.  John  Woodward,  living  at  Rouen.- 

"  Absit  ut  gloriemur  nisi  in  crucc  Domini 
nostri  Jesn  Christi. 

"  My  dearest  Uncle, 

"  After      many     conflicts     and      worldly 
corrasies,    mixed    with    spiritual    consolations    and 

1  Briefe  Historic,  p.  83. 

2  A  John   Woodward  appears  as   one  of  a  number  of  English 
residents  at  Rouen  who  signed  a  recommendation  of  the  exiled  com 
munity  of  Syon,    in    1582.  (See   Douay  Diaries,    p.  362.)     Thomas 
Covert  sent  a  Latin  translation  of  this  letter  to  Father  Agazzari,  S.J., 
Rector  of  the  English  College  at  Rome,  January  25,  1581-2.     His 
letter  is  at  Stonyhurst.  (Anglia,  i.  n.  3,  fol.  38.) 


392  BLESSED   RALPH   SHERW1N 

Christian  comforts,  it  hath  pleased  God,  of  His 
unspeakable  mercy,  to  call  me  out  of  this  vale  of 
misery.  To  Him  therefore  for  all  His  benefits  at 
all  times  and  for  ever  be  all  praise  and  glory. 

](  Your  tender  care  always  had  over  me,  and  cost 
bestowed  on  me,  I  trust  in  Heaven  shall  be  rewarded. 
My  prayers  you  have  still  had  and  that  was  but  duty. 
Other  tokens  of  a  grateful  mind  I  could  not  show, 
by  reason  of  my  restrained  necessity. 

:<  This  very  morning,  which  is  the  festival-day  of 
St.  Andrew,  I  was  advertised  by  superior  authority 
that  to-morrow  I  was  to  end  the  course  of  this  life. 
God  grant  I  may  do  it  to  the  imitation  of  this 
noble  apostle  and  servant  of  God,  and  that  with  joy 
I  may  say,  rising  off  the  hurdle,  Salve  sancta  crux, 
&c. 

"  Innocency  is  my  only  comfort  against  all  the 
forged  villainy  which  is  fathered  on  my  fellow- 
priests  and  me.  Well,  when  by  the  High  Judge, 
God  Himself,  this  false  vizard  of  treason  shall  be 
removed  from  true  Catholic  men's  faces,  then  shall 
it  appear  who  they  be  that  carry  a  well-meaning 
and  who  an  evil,  murdering  mind.  In  the  mean 
season  God  forgive  all  injustice,  and  if  it  be  His 
blessed  will  to  convert  our  persecutors,  that  they 
may  become  professors  of  His  truth. 

"  Prayers  for  my  soul  procure  for  me,  my  loving 
patron,  and  that  the  Saving  Victim  be  offered  to 
God  the  Father  again  and  again  for  the  expiation 
of  my  sins ;  and  so  having  great  need  to  prepare 
myself  for  God,  never  quieter  in  mind  nor  less 
troubled  towards  God,  binding  all  my  iniquities  up  in 


BLESSED   RALPH   S HER  WIN  393 


His  precious  Wounds,  I  bid  you  farewell.  Yea,  and 
once  again,  the  lovingest  uncle  that  ever  kinsman 
had  in  this  world,  farewell. 

"  God  grant  us  both  His  grace  and  blessing  until 
the  end  ;  that  living  in  His  fear,  and  dying  in  His 
favour,  we  may  enjoy  one  the  other  for  ever.  And 
so,  my  good  old  John,  farewell.  Salute  all  my  fellow- 
Catholics.  And  so  without  further  troubling  of  you, 
my  sweetest  benefactor,  farewell. 
"  Your  cousin, 

"  RALPH  SHERWINE,  Priest. 

"  From  the  Tower  of  London,  on  St.  Andrew's 
day,  1581.  'M 

When  December  the  ist  the  day  of  the  martyr's 
triumph  came,  he  was  tied  to  the  same  hurdle  as 
Blessed  Alexander  Briant.2  The  Diary  of  the 
English  College  speaks  of  some  Catholics  having 
prepared  a  strengthening  drink  for  the  martyrs, 
which  was  brought  them  by  a  kindly  disposed 
gaoler.  When  Blessed  Edmund  Campion's  mar 
tyrdom  was  over,  the  hangman,  with  his  bare 
arms  and  hands  all  bloody,  seized  hold  of  Blessed 
Ralph,  saying  to  him,  "Come,  Sherwin,  take  thou 
also  thy  wages,"  but  the  holy  man  nothing  dismayed, 
embraced  him  and  reverently  kissing  the  blood  on 
his  hands,  climbed  up  into  the  cart  beneath  the 
gallows,  where  he  stood  some  moments  in  prayer 
with  his  eyes  shut  and  his  hands  lifted  up  to 
heaven.  Then  he  asked  if  the  people  looked  for 

1  Brief e  Historic,  pp.  84,  85. 
2  Foley,  Records  S.jf.  vol.  vi.  p.  102. 


394 


BLESSED   RALPH   SHERWIN 


any  speech  from  him.  Many  of  the  people  and 
some  of  the  more  honourable  sort  crying  out,  "  Yea, 
yea,"  with  stout  courage  and  strong  voice,  he  said, 
"  Then  first,  I  thank  the  Omnipotent  and  most 
merciful  God  the  Father,  for  my  creation;  my  sweet 
and  loving  Saviour  Christ  Jesus,  for  my  redemption, 
and  the  Holy  Ghost  for  my  sanctification :  three 
Persons  and  one  God." 

He  was  then  going  on  to  give  an  account  of  his 
faith,  his  condemnation  and  death,  when  Sir  Francis 
Knollys  interrupted  him  and  bade  him  confess  his 
treason  against  the  Queen.  "  I  am  innocent  and 
guiltless,"  he  replied,  and  being  further  pressed,  he 
said,  "  I  will  not  belie  myself,  for  so  should  I 
condemn  my  own  soul ;  and  although  in  this  short 
time  of  mortal  life  I  am  to  undergo  the  infamy  and 
punishment  of  a  traitor,  I  make  no  doubt  of  my 
future  happiness  through  Jesus  Christ,  in  whose 
Death,  Passion,  and  Blood  I  only  trust." 

Upon  this  the  ministers  present  said  he  was  a 
Protestant ;  but  he  took  no  notice  of  them,  but 
went  on  "  with  a  most  sweet  prayer  to  our  Lord 
Jesus,  acknowledging  the  imperfection,  misery,  and 
sinful  wickedness  of  his  own  nature,  and  still 
protesting  his  innocence  of  all  traitorous  practices." 
When  Sir  Francis  Knollys  again  interrupted  him, 
he  said,  "  Tush,  tush  !  you  and  I  shall  answer  this 
before  another  Judge,  where  my  innocence  shall  be 
known,  and  you  will  see  that  I  am  guiltless  of  this." 
Whereupon  Sir  Francis  said,  "  We  know  you  are 
no  contriver  or  doer  of  this  treason,  for  you  are 
no  man  of  arms  ;  but  you  are  a  traitor  by  con- 


BLESSED   RALPH    SHERW1N  395 


sequence  ;  "  but  the  martyr  boldly  answered,  "  If  to 
be  a  Catholic  only,  if  to  be  a  perfect  Catholic,  be  to 
be  a  traitor,  then  am  I  a  traitor.''  Then  being 
debarred  further  speech,  he  only  added,  "  I  forgive 
all  who,  either  by  general  presumption  or  particular 
error,  have  procured  my  death,"  and  so  devoutly 
prayed  to  his  Saviour  Jesus.  After  which  he  was 
asked  his  opinion  of  the  Bull  of  Pope  Pius,  to  which 
point  he  gave  no  answer.  Then  being  willed  to 
pray  for  the  Queen,  he  said  he  did  so.  "  For  which 
Queen  ? "  said  Lord  Charles  Howard.  To  whom 
Sherwin  somewhat  smiling  replied,  "  Yea,  for 
Elizabeth,  Queen  ;  I  now  at  this  instant  pray  my 
Lord  God  to  make  her  His  servant  in  this  life,  and 
after  this  life  co-heir  with  Christ  Jesus."  To  this 
some  objected  that  he  meant  to  make  her  a  Papist, 
to  whom  he  replied,  "  Else  God  forbid."  And  so 
recollecting  himself  in  prayer,  he  put  his  head  into 
the  halter,  repeating  the  ejaculation,  Jesn,  Jesu, 
Jesu,  esto  mihi  Jesus,  the  multitude  crying  out  to 
him,  "  Good  Mr.  Sherwin,  the  Lord  God  receive 
your  soul ;  "  and  so  they  kept  crying,  and  could  not 
be  stayed  even  after  the  cart  had  been  drawn  away, 
and  he  had  been  some  time  dead. 

Dr.  Worthington,  in  his  Catalogue  of  Martyrs, 
states  that  he  had  the  happiness  of  instructing  his 
parents  in  the  Faith.  He  was  thirty-one  years  old. 
In  a  letter  to  Father  Agazzari,  in  1583,  Dr.  Allen 
laments  that  he  had  been  unable,  in  spite  of  all  his 
endeavours,  to  secure  any  relics  of  him. 

E.  S.  K. 
ED. 


396  BLESSED   RALPH   SHERWIN 


AUTHORITIES. — Briefe  Historic,  pp.  76 — 84.  Concertatio, 
fol.  68  A — 82  A.  Yepes,  pp.  337 — 346.  Douay  Diaries,  passim. 
Challoner,  i.  pp.  39 — 43. 

RELICS. — A  bone  of  Blessed  Ralph  Sherwin  is  preserved 
at  Stonyhurst.  It  is  apparently  a  knuckle-bone  or  toe-bone 
with  a  piece  of  tendon  attached.  There  are  also  five  fibrous 
pieces  of  nerve  or  muscle,  and  a  small  piece  of  cloth.  The 
last  named  is  labelled  "  B.  Shering,  mart.,"  but  is  no  doubt 
a  relic  of  Blessed  Ralph.  His  chief  relics  are,  however,  his 
letters  preserved  at  Stonyhurst. 


XL 
THE   BLESSED   ALEXANDER   BRIANT, 

JESUIT. 

Tyburn,  i  December,  1581. 

THE  violence  of  the  persecution,  it  has  already  been 
observed,  had  greatly  intensified  in  1580.  This  was 
owing  in  part  to  the  continually  increasing  number 
of  missionaries  known  to  have  entered  the  country 
—no  fewer  than  twenty -nine  this  year  —  but 
especially  to  the  presence  of  the  Jesuits.  In  the 
course  of  1581  a  new  cause  inflamed  it  still  further. 
This  was  the  publications  of  Blessed  Edmund 
Campion  and  Father  Persons.  Campion's  Challenge 
was  circulated  in  manuscript,  and  as  one  scurrilous 
attack  after  another  was  made  by  the  Protestants, 
there  appeared  to  their  amazement  within  an  incre 
dibly  short  time — on  one  occasion  within  ten  days 
—trenchant  rejoinders  from  Father  Persons,  first 
against  Charke  and  Hanmer,  then  against  Nichols. 
The  third,  the  Reasons  why  Catholiques  refuse  to  go  to 
Church,  was  a  cogent  but  very  conciliatory  answer  to 
the  new  laws  against  Recusants.  The  tracts  professed 
on  the  title-page  to  be  printed  at  Douay,  but  to 
practised  eyes  they  were  unmistakably  English 
work. 


398  BLESSED   ALEXANDER   BRIANT 

Moreover,  without  any  visible  agency,  these  books 
were  found  spread  abroad  not  only  among  Catholics, 
but  even  in  Protestant  houses,  on  bookstalls,  in  the 
streets,  in  shops,  and  even  in  the  Court.  How 
could  their  publication  be  stopped?  Where  was 
the  press  from  which  they  issued  ?  By  what  means 
were  they  circulated  ?  A  sense  of  vexation  and 
defeat  was  now  added  to  the  religious  bitterness. 
The  persecutors  began  to  do  their  worst.  Searches 
and  sudden  irruptions  of  pursuivants  and  priest- 
catchers  became  continual.  Again  and  again  Father 
Persons  had  hairbreadth  escapes,  and  sometimes 
though  he  escaped,  some  one  else  was  taken.  Thus 
on  one  occasion  he  was  to  meet  a  brother  of  Edward 
Rishton  at  midnight  at  an  inn  called  "  The  Red 
Rose,"  and  receive  him  into  the  Church,  but  could 
not  identify  the  inn  and  had  to  give  up  the  attempt 
regretfully.  He  had  passed  the  very  door,  he  after 
wards  found,  without  recognizing  it,  though  he  had 
been  there  a  few  days  before,  and  by  a  slip  of 
memory  had  inquired  for  "  The  White  Rose."  All  the 
while  there  had  been  officers  in  the  house  waiting 
for  his  arrival  to  arrest  him.  They  missed  their 
expected  prey,  but  they  captured  seven  others,  and 
among  them  Edward  Rishton,  the  publisher  of  John 
Hart's  Diary  in  the  Tower  and  the  continuator  of 
Sander's  History  of  the  English  Schism. 

Again,  Father  Persons  had  hired  lodgings  "near 
Bridewell  Church,"  and  close  to  the  Thames,  a 
most  convenient  meeting-place  for  priests  and  other 
Catholics,  and  also  for  the  work  of  his  publications.  It 
was  more  suitable  for  this  purpose  because  it  belonged 


BLESSED   ALEXANDER   B RIANT 


399 


to  a  Protestant  bookseller,  and  so  was  not  likely  to 
be  suspected.  Here  Father  Persons  deposited  his 
stock  of  rosaries,  medals,  crucifixes,  and  pious 
objects  which  he  had  brought  from  Rome.  Here 
too  a  servant  of  Roland  Jcnks  (the  Oxford  book 
seller  who  for  the  Faith  had  had  his  ears  cruelly 
nailed  to  the  pillory  and  had  been  forced  to  free 
himself  by  cutting  them  off  with  his  own  hand)  had 
worked  at  bookbinding.  This  man  unfortunately 
turned  against  his  master  and  put  the  Council  on 
the  scent. 

Father  Persons  says: 1  "  While  we  were  together 
in  a  house  in  a  wood  [i.e.,  at  Stonor] ,  one  night 
Hartley  told  me  casually  that  he  had  been  at  Oxford, 
and  had  heard  that  Roland  Jenks's  servant,  who 
had  just  before  been  employed  by  me  at  my  house 
in  London  to  bind  some  books,  had  gone  over  and 
had  given  evidence  against  his  master.  I  at  once 
saw  the  danger,  and  the  first  thing  in  the  morning 
I  sent  to  London  and  found  that  Wilks,  the  secre 
tary  of  the  Privy  Council,  and  Norton  and  some  of 
the  Queen's  guards,  had  that  very  night  searched  my 
chamber  and  carried  off  all  he  found  there."  Great 
must  have  been  the  disappointment  of  Norton  and 
his  party.  It  was  plain  they  had  indeed  found  the 
nest ;  but  the  bird  was  flown.  It  was  the  dead  of 
night,  but  they  would  not  give  up  the  chase  yet. 
Perhaps  he  was  not  far  off.  They  made  an  entry 
into  an  adjoining  house.  The  coveted  prize  was 
not  there,  but  there  was  something  to  reward  their 
pains.  First  there  was  money,  which,  as  usual,  was 

1  MS.  Life  of  Campion  ;   Simpson,  p.  201. 


400 


BLESSED   ALEXANDER   BRIANT 


appropriated.  Next  they  found  a  "  trunk  wherein 
was  a  silver  chalice  and  much  other  good  stuff." 
But  a  yet  greater  prize  awaited  them.  The  house 
was  not  untenanted.  They  found  a  young  man  of 
some  seven-and-twenty  years,  of  exceedingly  gentle 
manner,  and  a  countenance  of  striking  beauty.  He 
was  at  once  suspected  of  being  a  priest  and  carried 
off  with  the  spoils  of  the  two  houses. 

Norton's  prize  was  the  Blessed  Alexander  Briant. 
Born  in  Somersetshire  of  a  yeoman  family,1  he  was 
early  sent  to  Oxford  and  matriculated  in  the  year 
1574,  being  then  eighteen  years  of  age.  Everything 
at  Hert  Hall,2  of  which  he  was  a  member,  was 
favourable  to  his  conversion.  Philip  Roundell,  the 
head  of  the  house,  is  said  to  have  taken  every 
opportunity  to  guide  the  minds  of  those  under  his 
charge  in  that  direction.  He  had  for  his  tutor 
Richard  Holtby,  who  was  already  a  Catholic  at 
heart,  and  subsequently  became  a  priest,  and 
having  laboured  some  time  on  the  English  Mission, 
entered  -the  Society  of  Jesus,  and  succeeded 
Father  Henry  Garnet  as  Superior  in  England. 
He  was  also  at  one  time  under  the  influence 
of  Persons,  who  writes,  "  He  was  my  disciple 
and  my  pupil  at  Oxford  and  ever  inclined  to 

1  The  matriculation  list  of  1574  describes  him  as  Somersetensis, 
plebai  filius,   cet.   18.  (Boase,   Register  of  the  University  of  Oxford,  II. 
ii.  p.  38;  cf.  Wood,  Athena,  i.  p.  479;  Father  Henry  More,  p.  104.) 
Challoner  says  he  was  born  in  Dorsetshire. 

2  Hert  Hall  was  afterwards  erected  into  a  College  as  Hertford 
College,  which  however  had  but  a  brief  duration,  and  was  merged 
in   Magdalen  Hall.     Recently  the  collegiate  foundation  has  been 
again  revived  under  the  old  title  of  Hertford  College. 


BLESSED   ALEXANDER    B RIANT 


401 


virtue."  But  Persons'  influence  cannot  have 
lasted  long,  for  he  left  Oxford  in  June,  1574, 
and  indeed  surrendered  his  Fellowship  at  Balliol 
on  February-  the  ijth  of  that  year,  though  keeping 
his  rooms  and  pupils  for  some  time  longer.  It 
is  not  surprising  then,  that  after  three  years  spent 
at  the  University,  Blessed  Alexander  followed  the 
footsteps  of  so  many  of  its  sons  to  the  Seminary  at 
Douay.  The  College  Diary  records  his  admission 
on  the  nth  of  August,  1577.  Holtby  had  preceded 
him  by  a  few  days,  having  entered  the  College  on 
the  3rd.  They  were  both  resolved,  having  themselves 
received  the  grace  of  the  Faith,  to  devote  their 
lives  to  imparting  it  to  their  brethren.  Together 
they  became  subdeacons  on  the  2jrd  of  February, 

1  From  this  passage  it  would  seem  probable  that  the  martyr,  on 
first  going  to  Oxford,  was  at  Balliol.  How  should  he  have  been  a 
pupil  of  Persons  at  Hert  Hall  ?  And  in  fact  this  conjecture  is 
confirmed  by  a  paper  in  the  Public  Record  Office  (Domestic, 
Elizabeth,  vol.  cxlvi.  n.  10)  of  the  year  1581,  evidently  written  by 
someone  intimately  acquainted  with  the  University  affairs.  It 
begins  thus:  "That  Balioll  Coledg  hath  not  bin  free  from  the 
suspicion  of  papistrie  this  long  time,  it  appeareth  by  the  men  yt  have 
bin  of  the  sayd  house,  namlye  Brian  and  Parsons.  With  Parsons 
and  since  his  departure  from  the  College,  have  Turner,  Bagshaw, 
Staverton,  and  one  Pilcher  bin  fellowes :  all  wch  were  grievously 
suspected  of  religion.  And  certayne  it  is  that  this  Pilcher  is  gone 
this  year  from  thence  to  Rhems,  looking  daily  for  Bagshaw  as  he 
did  report  to  one  Caesar,"  &c.  (See  Douay  Diaries,  Appendix,  p.  363.) 
Indeed  the  fact  is  stated  positively  in  a  letter  written  by  one  of 
Father  Persons'  brothers  giving  an  account  of  his  early  life,  in  which 
the  writer  says,  "  So  that  he  (Father  Persons)  had  in  Balliol  College 
and  Hall  more  than  thirty  scholars  under  him,  whereof  many 
have  proved  Catholics  and  some  priests,  as  Mr.  Briant,  priest 
and  martyr,  and  Mr.  Powell  and  others."  (Foley,  Records  S.J. 
vol.  vi.  p.  679.) 

'2  More,  Historia  Provincial  Anglican*  Soc.  Jesu,  p.  40. 

AA  II. 


4o2  BLESSED   ALEXANDER   B RIANT 

1578,  deacons  on  March  the  i8th,  and  priests  on 
the  2gth  of  the  same  month,  Holy  Saturday ;  all 
the  ordinations  being  at  Cambrai.  Holtby  started 
for  the  English  Mission  on  the  26th  of  February, 
1579  ;  Blessed  Alexander  on  the  3rd  of  the  following 

August. 

He  laboured  at  first  in  his  own  county  of 
Somersetshire.  Father  Persons  speaks  of  him  as 
"a  priest  of  the  greatest  zeal."  He  reconciled 
Persons'  father  to  the  Church,  and  this  fact  probably 
led  to  the  great  intimacy  and  affection  between 
them— for  Father  Persons  says  of  the  time  they 
were  both  in  England  "  he  never  willingly  left  my 
side."1  It  was  perhaps  the  desire  to  be  near  him 
that  led  him  to  choose  for  his  lodging  the  house 
where  he  was  taken.2 

On  his  arrest  on  the  28th  of  April,  1581,  he  was, 
after  a  short  examination  by  a  magistrate,  committed 
a  prisoner  to  the  Counter.  Some  years  later 
Father  Garnet  speaks  of  the  Counter  in  one  of  his 
letters  as  "  a  very  evil  prison."  3  Blessed  Alexander 
was  not  many  days  there,  but  they  were  days  of  great 
suffering.  The  persecutors,  who  had  so  narrowly 
missed  capturing  Father  Persons,  and  who  were 
tolerably  sure  Briant  could  tell  them  his  where- 

1  Simpson's  Campion,  p.  202. 

2  One  Gilbert  Body  was  taken  in  Briant's  chamber,  and  was 
sent  to  Bridewell,  where  he  was  flogged.  (Pollen,  Acts,  p.  54-) 

3  Father  Morris's  Life  of  Father  John  Gerard,  p.  186.      There 
were  two  prisons  of   the   name    in   London— the   Counter  in   the 
Poultry,  close  to  the  parish  Church  of  St.  Mildred,  and  the  Counter 
in  Wood  Street.      They  were  under  the  respective  authority  of  the 
two  sheriffs.      There  was  also  a  Counter  in  Southwark,  adjoining 
the  parish  Church  of  St.  Margaret. 


BLESSED   ALEXANDER   B RIANT  403 

abouts,  were  determined  to  stick  at  nothing  to 
extract  information  from  him.  Strict  orders  were 
given  to  the  gaolers  that  he  should  see  nobody ; 
that  if  any  persons  came  to  see  him  they  should 
at  once  be  arrested  ;  and  that  he  was  to  be  entirely 
deprived  of  food  and  drink.  "  Who  in  such  order 
continued,"  says  the  original  account  of  Dr.  Allen, 
followed  by  Challoner,  "  until  he  was  almost  famished. 
In  fine,  by  friendship,  or  what  means  I  know  not, 
he  got  a  pennyworth  of  hard  cheese,  and  a  little 
broken  bread,  with  a  pint  of  strong  beer,  which 
brought  him  into  such  an  extreme  thirst  that  he 
essayed  to  catch  with  his  hat  the  drops  of  rain 
from  the  house  eaves,  but  could  not  reach  them."1 
The  deprivation  of  food  and  drink  lasted  for  two 
days  and  nights.2 

After  six  days  at  the  Counter  nothing  had  been 
gained,  and  it  was  determined  to  try  still  sharper 
methods.  On  the  day  after  the  Ascension,  that 
is  May  the  5th,  Blessed  Alexander  was  removed 
to  the  Tower.  His  Acts  say3  "  he  verily  thought 

1  Brief e  Historic,  p.  87. 

2  Lord    Burghley    in    his  tract,  A    Declaration   of  the  favourable 
dealing  of  her  Majestie's  Commissioners,  &c.,  admits  this  torture  by 
starvation.      "A    horrible  matter  is  made  of   the  starving  of  one 
Alexander  Briant,  how  he  should  eat  clay  out  of  the  walls,  gathered 
water  to  drink  out  of  the  droppings  of  houses."     He  contends  that 
he  suffered  it  "  wilfully  of  extreme  impudent  obstinacy,"  because 
he  would  not  write,  no   doubt  for  fear  his  writing  would    be  the 
means  of  compromising  others  ;  and  throws  the  blame  on  him  for 
"  persisting  so   in    his  curst   heart   by  almost   two   days   and  two 
nights."     Hallam  says   of  this  tract  that   "those  who  revere  the 
memory   of  Lord  Burghley  must  blush  for  this  pitiful  apology." 
(Constitutional  History,  i.  p.  148.) 

3  Briefe  Historic,  p.  87. 


4o4  BLESSED    ALEXANDER   B RIANT 


he  would  have  been  utterly  famished,  and  therefore 
carried  with  him  a  little  piece  of  his  hard  cheese, 
which  his  keeper  in  searching  him  found  about 
him,  but  the  martyr  humbly  entreated  him  not  to 
take  it  from  him."  From  this  time  he  was  given 
his  allowance  of  food  and  drink,  but  only  that  he 
might  undergo  a  far  fiercer  trial.  The  Brief e 
Historic  says  of  him  that  "these  torments  and  the 
man's  constancy  are  comparable  truly  to  the  old, 
strange  sufferings  of  the  renowned  martyrs  of  the 
primitive  Church,  .  .  .  which  he  could  never  have 
borne  by  human  strength,  if  God  had  not  given  him 
His  singular  and  supernatural  grace." 

There  is  still  extant  the  order  of  the  Council, 
dated  the  3rd  of  May,  1581,  directing  Sir  Owen 
Hopton,  the  Lieutenant  of  the  Tower,  Dr.Hammond, 
and  the  notorious  Norton,  "the  rack-master,"  to 
examine  "a  certain  seminary  priest  or  Jesuit 
naming  himself  Bryant,  ...  and  if  he  shall  obsti 
nately  refuse  to  confess  the  truth,  then  to  put  him 
unto  the  torture,  and  by  the  pain  and  terror  of 
the  same  to  wring  from  him  the  knowledge  of  such 
things  as  shall  appertain."1  It  was,  of  course, 

1  MSS.  Lansd.  1162,  fol.  yb.     Printed  by  Dasent,  xiii.  37,  38. 
"  3rd  Mali,  1581. 

"  [Present]  Lord  Admiral,  Earl  of  Bedford,  Mr.  Treasurer, 
Mr.  Vicechancellor,  Mr.  Secretary. 

"  A  letter  to  the  Lieutenant  of  the  Tower,  that  whereas  ther< 
is  presently  remaining  in  the  Counter  in  Wood  Street  a  seminary 
priest  naming  himself  Bryant,  lately  apprehended  and  committed 
to  that  prison,  their  Lordships  think  good  to  have  him  removed  to 
the  Tower,  thereto  be  further  examined,  and  have  him  required  to 
send  for  the  said  Bryant  unto  the  Counter,  and  to  receive  him  into 
his  custody  to  remain  close  prisoner,  and  be  examined  from  time 


BLESSED  ALEXANDER   B RIANT  405 

with  a  view  to  carrying  out  these  instructions,  that 
the  martyr  was  removed  to  the  Tower.  Two  days 
after  his  transfer  he  was  brought  before  the 
three  commissioners,  who  began  by  tendering  to 
him  an  oath  to  answer  all  their  questions.  The 
holy  priest  was,  of  course,  unable  to  answer 
those  which  would  have  compromised  others, 
"and  because  he  would  not  confess,"  says  the 
Brief e  Historic,  "  where  he  had  seen  Father 

to  time,  according  to  such  direction  as  he  shall  receive  in  that 
behalf  from  their  Lordships,  &c. 

"  A  letter  unto  the  Lieutenant  of  the  Tower,  Dr.  Hammond,  and 
Thomas  Norton,  gent.,  that  whereas  there  hath  been  of  late  appre 
hended  among  others  a  certain  seminary  priest  or  Jesuit,  naming 
himself  Bryant,  about  whom  there  was  taken  certain  books  and 
writings  carrying  matter  of  high  treason,  and  is  (as  may  in  good 
likelihood  be  conjectured)  able  to  discover  matters  of  good  moment 
for  her  Majesty.  It  was  therefore  thought  good  that  he  should  be 
for  that  purpose  substantially  examined  upon  such  interrogatories  as 
may  be  framed  and  gathered  out  of  the  said  books  and  writings, 
which  their  Lordships  send  them  herewith,  for  the  doing  whereof 
especial  choice  was  made  of  them  three,  and  thereby  authority  given 
unto  them  for  the  drawing  the  interrogatories  and  the  examining 
the  said  Bryant  accordingly.  And  if  he  shall  refuse  by  persuasion 
to  confess  such  things  as  they  shall  find  him  able  to  reveal  unto 
them,  then  they  shall  offer  unto  him  the  torture  in  the  Tower  ; 
and  in  case  upon  the  sight  thereof  he  shall  obstinately  refuse 
to  confess  the  truth,  then  shall  they  put  him  unto  the  torture, 
and  by  the  pain  and  terror  of  the  same  wring  from  him  the 
knowledge  of  such  things  as  shall  appertain.  And  for  the  rest  that 
were  apprehended  with  him,  as  others  that  upon  his  examination 
shall  be  touched  in  like  degree,  and  by  their  endeavours  appre 
hended,  their  Lordships  pray  them  to  examine  them  and  every  of 
them,  by  such  convenient  ways  and  means  as  by  them  shall  be 
thought  convenient  and  fit  for  the  trying  out  of  the  matters  where 
with  they  shall  be  severally  charged.  And  what  they  shall  find  by 
their  said  examinations  they  are  prayed  to  certify  unto  their 
Lordships  in  writing,  that  thereupon  such  further  orders  may  be 
taken  with  them  as  shall  appertain,"  &c. 


406  BLESSED   ALEXANDER   B RIANT 

Persons,  how  he  was  maintained,  where  he  had 
said  Mass,  and  whose  confessions  he  had  heard, 
they  caused  needles  to  be  thrust  under  his  nails, 
whereat  Mr.  Brian  was  not  moved  at  all,  but  with 
a  constant  mind  and  pleasant  countenance,  said 
the  Psalm  Miserere,  desiring  God  to  forgive  his 
tormentors ;  whereat  Dr.  Hammond  stamped  and 
stared,  as  a  man  half  beside  himself,  saying,  '  What 
a  thing  is  this  ?  If  a  man  were  not  settled  in  his 
religion,  this  were  enough  to  convert  him.'  "  His 
fellow-prisoner,  John  Hart,  who  had  the  account 
of  his  sufferings  from  himself,  shortly  before  his 
martyrdom,  writes:  "Alexander  Briant,  a  priest, 
was  brought  into  the  Tower  from  another  prison, 
where  he  had  almost  died  of  thirst,  and  was  loaded 
with  most  heavy  shackles.  Then  sharp  needles 
were  thrust  under  his  nails  to  force  him  to  disclose 
where  he  had  seen  Father  Persons,  which,  however, 
with  unshaken  resolution,  he  refused."1  This 
torture  is  also  described  in  a  letter  from  Father 
Persons  written  early  in  August,  1581,  and  on  the 
27th  of  the  same  month  it  is  recorded  in  the  Douay 
Diaries.  It  was  openly  stated  in  the  True  Report 
of  the  Martyrdom  of  M.  Campion,  M.  Sherwin,  and 
M.  Bryan,2  in  the  December  following,  and  by  the 
Briefe  Historic  in  1582.  Moreover,  the  defence 
offered  by  Norton,  to  which  we  shall  return  imme- 

1  Diary  in  the  To wer,  [April]  27,  and  May  6,  1581.     There  is  an 
earlier  record  still  in  the  letter  from  a  prisoner  in  the  Tower,  R.O. 
Domestic,  vol.  cxlix.  n.  61,  of  which  a  translation  is  printed  in  Foley, 
Records  S.J.  vol.  ii.  p.  160. 

2  Sander,   De  Schismate  Anglicano,   lib.   iii.   Edit.    1628,   p.   319; 
Douay  Diaries,  p.  181  ;  True  Report,  sig.  D.  3. 


BLESSED   ALEXANDER   B RIANT  407 


diately,  is  quite  inconclusive,  and  rather  confirms 
than  invalidates  the  statements  of  the  Catholics. 

It  does  not  appear  that  any  other  martyr  except 
Briant  was  tortured  by  pricking — but  the  punish 
ment  was  not  unfrequently  applied  to  witches,  who 
seemed  insensible  to  other  pain.  This  perhaps 
explains  its  infliction  here.  If  Briant  had  remained 
unmoved  by  previous  sufferings,  it  would  have 
seemed  not  unnatural  to  the  rack-master  to  say 
that  this  was  due  to  conjuration,  and  then  to  apply 
the  needles. 

Thirteen  questions  to  be  proposed  to  Briant, 
regarding  the  names  of  Catholics,  the  whereabouts 
of  Persons  and  Campion,  &c.,  are  extant,1  but  the 
martyr's  answers  seem  to  have  perished.  The 
Government,  however,  published  such  "  short 
extracts"  from  a  later  examination,  on  the  depos 
ing  powers  of  the  Pope,  as  would  be  most  likely  to 
raise  odium  against  the  sufferer.2  The  "  extracts " 
are  the  following  : 

"  Alexander  Briant.  He  is  content  to  affirm 
that  the  Queen  is  his  sovereign  lady  :  but  he  will 
not  affirm  that  she  is  so  lawfully,  and  ought  to  be 
so,  and  to  be  obeyed  by  him  as  her  subject  if  the 
Pope  declare  or  command  the  contrary.  And  he 
saith  that  this  question  is  too  high  and  dangerous 
for  him  to  answer.  The  6th  of  May,  1581.  Before 
Owen  Hopton,  Kt.,  John  Hammond,  Thos.  Norton. 

1  R.O.  Domestic,  vol.  cxlvii.  n.  97,  printed  below  in  the  life 
of  Kirby,  and  in  Foley,  vol.  iv.  p.  348. 

-  Declaration  of  undutiful  affection  of  Edmund  Campion  and  other 
condemned  priests  (1582),  reprinted  in  Cobbett's  State  Trials,  vol.  i. 
p.  1078,  and  Tierney-Dodd,  vol.  i  p.  u. 


408  BLESSED   ALEXANDER   B RIANT 

"  Whether  the  Pope  hath  authority  to  withdraw 
from  obedience  to  her  Majesty  he  knoweth  not. 

"  ALEXANDER  BRIANT. 
"The  7th  of  May,  1581." 

After  this  the  martyr,  as  Hart  records,  "was 
thrown  into  the  pit,"  which  he  describes  in  the 
preface  to  his  diary  as  "  a  subterraneous  cave, 
twenty  feet  deep,  without  light."  He  remained 
there  eight  days  and  was  then  drawn  out  to  be  taken 
to  the  rack-chamber. 

Here,  says  the  Brief e  Historic,1  "  he  was,  even  to 
the  disjointing  of  his  body,  rent  and  torn  upon  the 
rack,  because  he  would  not  confess  where  Father 
Persons  was,  where  the  print  was,  and  what  books 
he  had  sold,  and  so  was  returned  to  his  lodgings 
for  the  time.  Yet  the  next  day  following,  notwith 
standing  the  great  distemperature  and  soreness  of 
his  whole  body,  his  senses  being  dead  and  his  blood 
congealed  (for  this  is  the  effect  of  racking),  he  was 
brought  to  the  torture  again,  and  there  stretched 
with  greater  severity  than  before ;  insomuch  that 
supposing  with  himself  they  would  pluck  him  in 
pieces,  ...  he  put  on  the  armour  of  patience, 
resolving  to  die  rather  than  to  hurt  any  creature 
living,  and  having  his  mind  raised  in  contemplation 
of  Christ's  bitter  Passion.  He  swooned  away,  so 
that  they  were  fain  to  sprinkle  cold  water  on  his 
face  to  revive  him  again  :  yet  they  released  no  part 
of  his  pain. 

1  Pp.  87,  88. 


BLESSED   ALEXANDER   B RIANT  409 


"  And  here  Norton,  because  they  could  get 
nothing  of  him,  asked  him  whether  the  Queen 
were  supreme  head  of  the  Church  of  England  or 
not  ?  To  this  he  said,  '  I  am  a  Catholic,  and  I 
believe  in  this  as  a  Catholic  should  do.'  '  Why,' 
said  Norton,  '  they  say  the  Pope  is.'  'And  so  say 
I,'  answered  Mr.  Briant.  Here  also  the  Lieutenant 
used  railing  and  reviling  words,  and  bobbed  him 
under  the  chin  and  slapped  him  on  the  cheeks  after 
an  uncharitable  manner;  and  all  the  commissioners 
rose  up  and  went  away,  giving  commandment  to 
leave  him  so  all  night.  At  which  when  they  saw  he 
was  nothing  moved,  they  willed  he  should  be  taken 
from  the  torment,  and  sent  him  again  to  Wales- 
boure  ; l  where,  not  able  to  move  hand  or  foot  or 
any  part  of  his  body,  he  lay  in  his  clothes  fifteen 
days  together,  without  bedding,  in  great  pain  and 
anguish." 


Of  these  terrible  scenes,  Norton  himself  admitted 
to  Walsingham,  as  we  shall  see  later,  that  he  had 
used  the  inhuman  threat  that  the  martyr  ''should  be 
made  a  foot  longer  than  God  made  him  ;  "  that  "  he 
was  therewith  nothing  moved;"  that  he  was  "racked 
more  than  any  of  the  rest,  yet  he  stood  still  with 
express  refusal  "  to  comply  with  the  requirements 
of  his  persecutors.-  And  Dr.  Allen  in  a  letter  to 
Father  Agazzari  a  few  weeks  later  (the  23rd  of  June, 
1581),  says  "he  laughed  at  his  tormentors,  and 
though  nearly  killed  by  the  pain,  said,  '  Is  this  all 

1  A  dungeon,  the  locality  of  which  is  uncertain,  perhaps  in  the 
now  destroyed  Coleharbour  Tower,  perhaps  under  the  "White  Tower. 
'2  See  the  extract  from  his  letter  below. 


4io  BLESSED   ALEXANDER   BRIANT 

you  can  do  ?  If  the  rack  is  no  more  than  this, 
let  me  have  a  hundred  more  for  this  cause.' ' 

Indeed  in  his  first  racking  the  martyr  was  mira 
culously  preserved  from  the  sense  of  pain  during 
part  of  the  time.  Hart  says,  "  I  heard  afterwards 
from  his  own  mouth,  a  little  before  his  martyrdom, 
that  he  felt  no  pain  whatever  when  his  body  was 
extended  to  the  utmost,  nor  when  his  tormentors 
with  savage  barbarity  endeavoured  to  inflict  upon 
him  the  greatest  pain."2  He  gave  a  more  exact 
account  of  this  grace  in  a  letter  to  the  Jesuit 
Fathers  in  England.3 

In  this  long  letter,  which  we  quote  verbatim 
from  the  Brief e  Historic,  he  begs  for  admission  into 
the  Society  with  touching  earnestness  and  humility. 

"  Yet  now,  since  I  am  by  the  appointment  of 
God,  deprived  of  liberty,  so  as  I  cannot  any  longer 
employ  myself  in  this  profitable  exercise,  my  desire 
is  eftsoons  revived,  my  spirit  waxeth  fervent  hot,  and 
at  the  last  I  have  made  a  vow  and  promise  to  God, 
not  rashly  (as  I  hope)  but  in  the  fear  of  God,  not 
to  any  other  end,  than  that  I  might  thereby,  more 
devoutly  and  more  acceptably  serve  God,  to  my 
more  certain  salvation,  and  to  a  more  glorious 
triumph  over  my  ghostly  enemy,  I  have  made  a 
vow  (I  say),  that  whensoever  it  shall  please  God 
to  deliver  me  (so  that  once  at  the  length  it  like  Him) 

1  Knox,  Letters  and  Memorials  of  Cardinal  Allen,  p.  95,  and  R.O. 
Domestic,  Elizabeth,  vol.  cxlix.  nn.  51,  52. 

2  Diary  in  the  Tower,  May  6. 

3  Brief  e  Historic,  pp.  89—92. 


BLESSED   ALEXANDER   BR1ANT  411 

I  will,  within  one  year  then  next  following,  assign 
myself  wholly  to  the  Fathers  of  the  Society,  and 
that  (if  God  inspire  their  hearts  to  admit  me)  I  will 
gladly,  and  with  exceeding  great  joy,  thoroughly 
and  from  the  bottom  of  my  heart,  give  up  and 
surrender  all  my  will  to  the  service  of  God  and  in 
all  obedience  under  them. 

"  This  vow  was  to  me  a  passing  great  joy  and 
consolation  in  the  midst  of  all  my  distresses  and 
tribulations.  And  therefore  with  greater  hope  to 
obtain  fortitude  and  patience,  I  drew  near  to  the 
throne  of  his  Divine  Majesty,  with  the  assistance 
of  the  blessed  and  perpetual  Virgin  Mary  and  of  all 
the  saints.  And  I  hope  verily  this  came  of  God, 
for  I  did  it  even  in  the  time  of  prayer,  when 
methought  my  mind  was  settled  upon  heavenly 
things.  For  thus  it  was. 

"  The  same  day  that  I  was  first  tormented  on 
the  rack  before  I  came  to  this  place,  giving  my 
mind  to  prayer,  and  commending  myself  and  all 
mine  to  our  Lord,  I  was  replenished  and  filled  up 
with  a  kind  of  supernatural  sweetness  of  spirit ;  and 
even  while  I  was  calling  upon  the  most  holy  Name 
of  Jesus,  and  upon  the  blessed  Virgin  Mary  (for 
I  was  in  saying  the  Rosary),  my  mind  was  cheerfully 
disposed,  well  comforted,  and  readily  prepared  and 
bent  to  suffer  and  endure  those  torments,  which  even 
then  I  most  certainly  looked  for.  At  the  length  my 
former  purpose  came  into  my  mind,  and  therewithall 
a  thought  coincidently  fell  upon  me  to  ratify  that 
now  by  vow,  which  before  I  had  determined.  When 
I  had  ended  my  prayers,  I  resolved  these  things 


4i2  BLESSED   ALEXANDER   B RIANT 


in  my  mind  deeply,  and  with  reason  (as  well  as  I 
could)  I  did  debate  and  discuss  them  thoroughly. 
I  judged  it  good  and  expedient  for  me,  I  accom 
plished  my  desire,  I  put  forth  my  vow  and  promise 
freely  and  boldly,  with  the  condition  aforesaid. 

"Which  act  (me  thinketh)  God  himself  did 
approve  and  allow  by-and-by.  For  in  all  my 
afflictions  and  torments,  He  of  His  infinite  goodness 
mercifully  and  tenderly  did  stand  by  and  assist  me, 
comforting  me  in  my  trouble  and  necessity  ;  deliver 
ing  my  soul  from  wicked  lips,  from  the  deceitful 
tongue,  and  from  the  roaring  lions,  then  ready 
gaping  for  their  prey. 

"  Whether  this  that  I  say  be  miraculous  or  no, 
God  knoweth.  But  true  it  is,  and  thereof  my 
conscience  is  a  witness  before  God.  And  this  I  say, 
that  in  the  end  of  the  torture,  though  my  hands  arid 
feet  were  violently  stretched  and  racked,  and  my 
adversaries  fulfilled  their  wicked  lust,  in  practising 
their  cruel  tyranny  upon  my  body,  yet  notwith 
standing  I  was  without  sense  and  feeling  well-nigh 
of  all  grief  and  pain  ;  and  not  so  only,  but  as  it  were 
comforted,  eased  and  refreshed  of  grievous  [ness]  of 
the  torture  bypast.  I  continued  still  with  perfect 
and  present  senses  in  quietness  of  heart  and  tran 
quillity  of  mind  ;  which  thing  when  the  commis 
sioners  did  see,  they  departed,  and  in  going  forth  of 
the  door  they  gave  orders  to  rack  me  again  the  next 
day  following,  after  the  same  sort.  Now  when  I 
heard  them  say  so,  it  [came  into]  my  mind  by-and- 
by,  and  I  did  verily  believe  and  trust,  that  with  the 
help  of  God,  I  should  be  able  to  bear  and  suffer  it 


BLESSED   ALEXANDER    BRIANT 


patiently.  In  the  meantime  (as  well  as  I  could)  I 
did  muse  and  meditate  upon  the  most  bitter  passion 
of  our  Saviour  and  how  full  of  innumerable  pains  it 
was.  And  whiles  I  was  thus  occupied,  methought 
that  my  left  hand  was  wounded  in  the  palm,  and 
that  I  felt  the  blood  run  out,  but  in  very  deed  there 
was  no  such  thing,  nor  any  other  pains  than  that 
which  seemed  to  be  in  my  hand. 

"  Now  then  that  my  suit  and  request  may  be 
well  known  unto  you,  for  so  much  as  I  am  out  of 
hope  in  short  time  to  recover  and  enjoy  my  former 
liberty,  so  as  I  might  personally  speak  unto  you ; 
(and  whether  happily  I  shall  once  at  length  speak 
unto  you  in  this  world  no  mortal  man  doth  know) 
in  the  mean  season  I  humbly  submit  myself  unto 
you,  and  (suppliantly  kneeling)  I  beseech  you  to  do 
and  dispose  for  me  and  of  me,  as  shall  seem  good 
to  your  wisdom.  And  with  an  humble  mind  most 
heartily  I  crave  that  (if  it  may  be  in  my  absence) 
it  would  please  you  to  admit  me  into  your  Society 
and  to  register  and  enroll  me  among  you,  that  so 
with  humble  men  I  may  have  a  sense  and  feeling 
of  humility,  with  devout  men  I  may  sound  out  aloud 
the  lauds  and  praises  of  God,  and  continually  render 
thanks  to  him  for  his  benefits  ;  and  then  after  being 
aided  by  the  prayers  of  many,  I  may  run  more  safely 
to  the  mark  which  I  shoot  at,  and  without  peril 
attain  to  the  prize  that  is  promised. 

"  As  I  am  not  ignorant  that  the  snares  and  wiles 
of  our  ancient  enemy  are  infinite,  for  he  is  the  sly 
serpent  which  lieth  in  the  shadow  of  woods,  winding, 
whirling  and  turning  about  many  ways  ;  and  with 


BLESSED   ALEXANDER   B RIANT 


his  wiles  and  subtle  shifts  he  attempts  marvellously 
to  delude  and  abuse  the  souls  of  the  simple  which 
want  a  faithful  guide  ;  insomuch  as  it  is  not  without 
cause  that  we  are  admonished  to  try  the  spirits  if 
they  be  of  God. 

"  To  you,  therefore,  because  you  are  spiritual, 
and  accustomed  to  this  kind  of  conflict,  I  commend 
all  this  business,  beseeching  you  even  by  the  bowels 
of  God's  mercy  that  you  would  vouchsafe  to  direct 
me  with  your  counsel  and  wisdom.  And  if  in  your 
sight  it  seem  profitable,  for  more  honour  to  God, 
more  commodity  to  his  Church,  and  eternal  salva 
tion  to  my  soul,  that  I  be  preferred  to  that  Society 
of  the  most  holy  Name  of  Jesus,  then  presently 
before  God,  and  in  the  court  of  my  conscience,  I  do 
promise  obedience  to  all  and  singular  Rectors  and 
Governors  established  already,  or  to  be  hereafter 
established ;  and  likewise  to  all  rules  or  laws 
received  in  the  Society  to  the  uttermost  of  my 
power,  and  so  far  as  God  doth  give  me  grace ;  God 
is  my  witness,  and  this  my  own  handwriting  shall 
be  a  testimony  hereof  in  the  day  of  Judgment. 

"  As  for  the  health  of  my  body  you  have  no 
cause  to  doubt,  for  now  well  near  I  have  recovered 
my  former  strength  and  hardness.  By  God's  help 
I  wax  every  day  stronger  than  [the]  other. 

"Thus,  in  all  other  things  commending  myself 
to  your  prayers,  I  bid  you  farewell  in  our  Lord, 
carefully  expecting  what  you  think  good  to  deter 
mine  of  me.  Vale." 

The  reader  may  wonder  how  this  letter,  written 


BLESSED   ALEXANDER   BRIANT  415 

by  a  close  prisoner  in  the  Tower,  found  its  way  to 
those  for  whom  it  was  destined.  Father  Persons 
has  answered  this  question.  In  his  tract,  DC  Per- 
secutione  Anglicana,1  he  tells  us  that  an  opportunity 
was  found  by  certain  Catholics,  during  the  disputa 
tions  held  by  Blessed  Edmund  Campion  in  the 
Tower,  to  visit  the  other  prisoners  for  the  Faith 
who  were  concealed  in  that  gloomy  fortress.  The 
disputations  were  held  in  public,  and  probably  the 
golden  key  was  freely  used  to  obtain  access  to  the 
dungeons,  where  the  confessors  of  Christ  were 
languishing.  In  this  way  our  martyr  not  only 
obtained  the  necessary  writing  materials,  but  was 
enabled  to  deliver  his  letter  into  safe  hands.  No 
doubt  in  this  way  also  the  priests  were  supplied  with 
the  means  of  offering  the  Holy  Sacrifice,  for  the 
corporal,  on  which  Briant  and  his  companions  said 
Mass,  is  still  preserved. 

Father  Persons  says  that  he  prints  the  letter  to 
show  that  the  hand  of  the  Lord  is  not  shortened, 
and  that  He  still  comes  to  the  help  of  His  confessors 
in  their  need,  and  is  with  them  even  in  the  dense 
darkness  of  their  dungeons. 

We  have  still  something  to  add  about  Norton's 
atrocious  cruelty.  When  it  became  known,  an 
outcry  was  raised,  and  the  Government  was  shamed 
into  putting  him  into  prison  for  a  few  days,  though 
apparently  on  some  other  plea,  to  make  believe  that 
they  were  not  responsible  for  him.  To  this  occasion 
we  are  indebted  for  his  avowal  and  confirmation 
of  the  facts  related  as  to  the  martyr's  torture. 

1  First  Edition,  published  in  1581,  p.  98. 


416  BLESSED   ALEXANDER   B RIANT 


Walsingham  sent  him  a  tract  about  the  late 
martyrs,1  upon  which  he  wrote  the  following  attempt 
at  a  defence  of  himself.2 

"  I  find  in  the  whole  book  only  one  place 
touching  myself,  fol.  ult.  pa.  2.  '  One  (meaning 
Briant)  whom  Mr.  Norton,  the  rack-master,  if  he  be 
not  misreported,  vaunted  in  the  court  to  have  pulled 
one  good  foot  longer  than  ever  God  made  him,  and 
yet  in  the  midst  of  all  he  seemed  to  care  nothing, 
and  therefore  out  of  doubt,  said  he,  he  had  a  devil 
within  him.'  Surely  I  never  said  in  that  form,  but 
thus.  When  speech  was  of  the  courage  of  Campion 
and  some  other,  I  said  truly  that  there  appeared 
more  courage  of  a  man's  heart  in  Briant  than  in 
Campion,  and  therefore  I  lamented  that  the  devil 
had  possessed  poor  unlearned  Briant  in  so  naughty 
a  cause :  for  being  threatened  by  those  who  had 
commission  (to  the  intent  he  might  be  moved  to 
tell  truth  without  torment)  that  if  he  would  not  for 
his  duty  to  God  and  the  Queen  tell  truth,  he  should 
be  made  a  foot  longer  than  God  made  him,  he  was 
therewith  nothing  moved.  And  being,  for  his 
apparent  obstinacy  in  matters  that  he  well  knew, 
racked  more  than  any  of  the  rest,  yet  he  stood  still 

1  The  passage  referred  to  by  Norton  is  found  at  the  end  of  the 
account  given  in  the  Concertatio.     But  this  of  course  was  a  transla 
tion  printed  considerably  later.       It   is  not  quite   clear  what  the 
original  tract  was,  of  which  Norton  speaks.     The  True  Reporte  and 
the  first  edition  of  the  Epistola  de  Persecutions  Anglicana  would  suit 
the  date,  but  the  examples  of  those  works  in  the  British  Museum 
do  not  contain  the  page  in  question. 

2  R.O.  Domestic,  Elizabeth,  vol.  clii.  n.  72  (March  27,  1582). 


BLESSED    ALEXANDER    BRIANT  417 

with  express  refusal  that  he  would  not  tell  the  truth. 
When  he  setteth  out  a  miracle  that  Briant  was 
preserved  from  feeling  pain,  it  is  most  untrue.  For 
no  man  of  them  all,  after  his  torture,  made  so 
grievous  complaining  and  showed  so  open  sign  of 
pain  as  he/' 

Mr.  Simpson  has  pointed  out  Norton's  care  to 
say  that  after  torture  the  martyr  had  shown  great 
signs  of  pain.  This  does  not  contradict  the  martyr's 
words,  which  limit  the  favour  granted  him  to  a 
certain  occasion  and  a  certain  part  of  the  time. 

Our  martyr  was  in  the  dungeon"or  on  the  rack 
during  the  month  of  May,  while  his  fellow-prisoners 
were  being  dragged  to  sermons  in  the  Church  of 
St.  Peter's  ad  Yincula.  This  insensate  violence 
ceased  at  Pentecost,  and  on  June  the  24th  in 
dictments  for  recusancy  since  May  the  26th  were 
presented  at  the  Middlesex  Sessions  against  the: 
Catholic  prisoners.  The  list  of  names,  however,  is 
sadly  decayed,  and  though  the  names  of  Cottam, 
Robert  Johnson,  and  Sherwin  are  legible,  that  of 
Briant  has  not  been  deciphered.1  We  have  already 
heard  how  he  communicated  with  his  fellow- 
Catholics  at  the  time  of  the  disputations  in  August 
and  September. 

The   Blessed   Alexander   was    arraigned    on   the 

same    indictment     as     Blessed    Edmund    Campion, 

Ralph    Sheruin,   and   Thomas  Cottam,   but  on   the 

following    day,    Wednesday,     November    the    I5th, 

together    with     six    others,     four    of     whom     were 

1  Middlesex  County  Records,  Edit.  Cordy  Jeaffreson,  vol.  i.  p.  124. 

»»  II. 


4i8  BLESSED  ALEXANDER   BRIANT 

martyred.     The  trial  took    place    on   the   i7th,  the 
day  after  that  of  the  first  three.1 

"When  he  went  to  Westminster  Hall,"  says  the 
Brief e  Historic,  "to  be  condemned,  he  made  a  cross 
of  such  wood  as  he  could  get,"  apparently  a  wooden 
trencher,  small  enough  to  be  covered  by  his  hand, 
and  upon  it  he  drew  with  charcoal  a  figure  of  our 
Divine  Lord.  This  rough  crucifix  "he  carried 
with  him  openly.  He  made  shift  also  to  shave  his 
crown  because  he  would  signify  to  the  prating 
ministers  (which  scoffed  and  mocked  him  at  his 
apprehension,  saying  that  he  was  ashamed  of  his 
vocation)  that  he  was  not  ashamed  of  his  Holy 
Orders,  nor  yet  that  he  would  blush  at  his  religion." 
We  are  also  told  that  Blessed  Alexander  took  the 
most  humiliating  place,  which  was  here  the  first, 
and  kept  looking  down  "  at  the  palm  of  his  hand, 
in  which  he  held  the  little  crucifix."  When  the 
ministers  reproached  him  and  bade  him  cast  it 
away,  he  answered,  "  Never  will  I  do  so,  for  I  am  a 
soldier  of  the  Cross,  nor  will  I  henceforth  desert  this 
standard  until  death."2  Another  pressed  forward 
and  snatched  the  cross  from  his  hands,  upon  which 
he  said,  "  You  may  tear  it  from  my  hands,  but  you 
cannot  take  it  from  my  heart.  Nay,  I  shall  die  for 
Him  who  first  died  on  it  for  me."  This  cross  was 
bought  by  some  Catholics  and  afterwards  taken  to 

1  The  record  of  the  trial  is  on  the  Cor  am  Rege  Roll,  and  gives 
the  dates  printed  above,  whereas  the  printed  authorities  place  the 
trials  on  the  aoth  and  2ist. 

2  Morris,  New  Witness  about  Campion  (see  above),  p.  6,  and  the 
MS.    Life   of  Campion   in    the  Archives   of   Westminster,  vol.  ii. 
p.  229. 


BLESSED   ALEXANDER   BRIANT  4Ig 

the  English  College  at  Rome  together  with  the  ropes 
used  in  racking  Campion,  by  one  who  had  been 
in  prison  with  them.  He  had  been  arrested  for 
printing  Catholic  books,  and  was  probably  Mr. 
Stephen  Brinkley.1  George  Gilbert  died  holding 
the  cross  in  his  hands  and  kissing  it  with  tender 
devotion. - 

Of  the  trial  itself  few  details  have  been  preserved. 
It  must  have  been  as  nearly  as  possible  a  repetition 
of  the  previous  day's  proceedings.  One  contem 
porary  writer  notes  that  the  martyr,  who  in  his 
University  days  had  been  called  "  the  handsome 
boy  of  Oxford,"  still  preserved  in  his  countenance 
after  so  many  inhuman  and  horrible  tortures  in 
the  Tower,  "a  serenity,  innocency,  and  amiability 
almost  angelic."  When  sentence  was  pronounced 
he  appealed  to  God's  judgment,  in  the  words  of  the 
Psalm,  Judica  me  Dens,  et  discerne  causam  meam  de 
gente  non  sancta.  When  they  were  back  in  the 
Tower,  Briant  was  punished  for  having  carried 
the  crucifix,  by  being  loaded  with  fetters  for  two 
days. 

He  was  the  third  of  those  singled  out  for  execu 
tion,  and  whose  martyrdom,  as  already  related,  was 

1  Foley,  Records  S.J.  vol.  vi.  p.  in.     Brinkley  was  a  young  man 
of  position  and  means  who  had  devoted   himself  to  the  work  of 
printing  Father  Persons'  books.     He  was  seized  with  the  press  at 
Stonor  Park  on  August  13,  1581,— a  month  after  Father  Campion's 
arrest— and    committed    to  the  Tower,   where    he   suffered    much 
for  nearly  two  years,  when  by  the  influence  of  friends  he  was  set  at 
liberty   on  June  24,   1583.     He  went   to   Rome  shortly  after  with 
Father  Persons,  and  later  settled  at  Rouen,  and  there  continued  his 
old  work  of  printing  for  Father  Persons. 

2  Letter  of  Father  Agazzari.     Foley,  Records  S.J.  vol.  iii.  p.  700. 


420 


BLESSED   ALEXANDER  B RIANT 


finally  fixed  for  December  the  ist.  When  he  had 
witnessed  the  glorious  death  of  the  Blessed  Edmund 
Campion  and  Ralph  Sherwin,  and  was  placed  in  the 
cart  beneath  the  gallows,  he  began  to  speak  to  the 
throng,  of  his  early  religious  education  and  of  his 
manner  of  life  at  Oxford,  when  he  was  cut  short 
by  some  one  crying  out:  "What  have  we  to  do 
with  Oxford  ;  come  to  the  purpose  and  confess  thy 
treason.'1  He  answered  with  great  vehemence : 
"  I  am  not  guilty  of  any  such  thing,  nor  am  I 
deserving  of  this  kind  of  death.  I  was  never  at 
Rome,  nor  was  I  at  Rheims  at  that  time  when 
Dr.  Sander  came  into  Ireland  "  (the  time  of  the 
pretended  conspiracy).1  "  He  spake  not  much,  but 
being  urged  more  than  the  other  two  to  speak  what 
he  thought  of  the  Bull  of  Pope  Pius  V.,  he  said  he 
did  believe  of  it  as  all  Catholics  did,  and  the 
Catholic  faith  doth."2  He  then  went  on,  with  an 
expression  of  great  joy  in  his  fair  and  innocent  face, 
to  say  what  exceeding  happiness  it  gave  him  that 
God  had  chosen  him  and  made  him  worthy  to 
suffer  death  for  the  Catholic  faith,  and  especially 
in  company  with  Edmund  Campion,  whom  he 
revered  with  all  his  heart.  Then,  as  he  was 
saying  Miserere  mei,  Dens,  the  cart  was  drawn 
from  under  him,  and  he  was,  like  his  two  fellow- 
martyrs,  left  hanging  until  he  was  dead,  though 
from  the  negligence  of  the  hangman  in  adjusting 
the  rope,  he  suffered  more  pain  than  either  of  the 
others. 

1  Brief e  Historic,  p.  86. 

-  MS.  Life  of  Campion.     Archives  of  Westminster,  vol.  ii. 


BLESSED  ALEXANDER  B RIANT  421 

The  Bricfe  Historic  records  an  apparently 
miraculous  circumstance  following  his  death. 
"  After  his  beheading,  being  dismembered,  his 
heart,  bowels,  and  entrails  burned,  to  the  great 
admiration  of  some,  being  laid  upon  the  block,  his 
belly  downwards  (he)  lifted  up  his  whole  body  then 
remaining  upon  the  ground.  And  this,  I  add,"  says 
the  author,  "  upon  report  of  others,  not  my  own 
sight."  1 

Father  Persons,  in  a  letter  written  shortly  after, 
says  of  this  martyr,  "  Our  adversaries  hated  this 
young  priest  chiefly  on  account  of  his  intimacy  with 
the  Fathers  of  the  Society,  about  whom  he  would 
not  utter  a  word  in  the  extremest  torments ;  and  in 
a  letter  secretly  conveyed  out  of  his  prison,  he 
ardently  begged  to  be  received  into  the  Society, 
relating  the  miracle  by  which  God  assisted  him 
in  the  midst  of  his  sufferings.  I  think  you  have 
already  received  a  copy  of  this  letter. ":  Father 
More,  the  historian  of  the  English  Province  of  the 
Society,  adds  that  "he  may  well  be  counted  among 
the  Fathers  of  the  Society,  seeing  he  had  engaged 
himself  to  their  fellowship  and  institute  by  the  bond 
of  so  solemn  a  vow."'  In  effect,  not  only  the  Society 
of  Jesus,  but  also  the  Holy  See,  has  endorsed  this 
judgment.  The  former  has  always  honoured  the 
Blessed  Alexander  with  a  place  in  its  histories  and 


1  Briefe  Historic,  p.  86. 

2  H.  More,  Historia  Provincia  Anglicana  Soc.  Jesu,  p   109. 

3  "  Merito  inter  Societatis  Patres  numeranclus  quorum  se  con- 
sortio    et    institute   voti    adeo    solemnis    religione    obstrinxerat." 
(Ibid.  p.  1 06.) 


422 


BLESSED  ALEXANDER  B RIANT 


menologies ;  while  Apostolic  briefs  have  enumerated 
him  among  the  martyrs  of  that  Order,  and  allowed 
his  feast  to  be  celebrated  by  its  members. 

E.  S.  K. 

J.  H.  P. 

AUTHORITIES. — Briefe  Historic,  pp.  85 — 91.  Persons,  De 
Persecutione  Anglicana  (1581),  and  MS.  Life  of  Campion.  True 
Report  of  the  death  of  M.  Campion,  M.  Sherwin,  and  M.  Briant 
(1582),  Concertatio,  Yepes,  &c.,  as  for  Campion  and  Briant. 
H.  Foley,  Records  S.J.  vol.  iv.  pp.  343 — 367. 

PORTRAIT. — There  is  a  picture  of  Blessed  Alexander 
Briant  at  the  Gesu,  and  a  copy  of  it,  made  by  the  late 
Mr.  Charles  Weld,  now  hangs  at  Stonyhurst.  It  represents 
the  martyr  holding  a  crucifix,  the  rope  is  round  his  neck,  and 
the  knife  buried  in  his  breast.  The  face  is  seen  in  profile.  He 
wears  a  moustache  and  very  slight  beard. 

RELICS. — i.  A  very  touching  relic  of  Blessed  Alexander 
and  four  of  his  fellow-martyrs  exists  to  this  day.  It  is  now  at 
Stonyhurst.  It  consists  of  a  corporal  of  very  fine  linen. 
There  is  a  minute  hem  round  the  sides  and  bottom,  and  a 
cross  worked  in  red  silk  at  each  corner.  There  is  apparently 
none  in  the  centre,  unless  it  is  hidden  by  the  inscription  which 
runs  thus :  Corporale  usurpatum  a  quinque  martyr ibus.  Below 
this  are  worked,  very  finely  in  red  silk,  the  names  of  the 
martyrs.  Each  is  surrounded  with  a  border.  They  run  as 
follows : 

LUCAS    .    KIRBEUS 
ROBERTUS    .    IONSONIUS 
ALEXANDER     .     BRIANUS 
IOANNES     .    SHIRTUS     + 
THOMAS      .      COTTAMUS 

This  corporal  was  used  by  the  five  Beati  whose  names  are 
embroidered  on  it  while  they  were  prisoners  in  the  Tower  of 
London  awaiting  their  martyrdom. 

It  is  a  consolation  to  have  this  evidence  that  they  were 
permitted  the  supreme  joy  of  celebrating  the  Holy  Sacrifice 
before  their  cruel  deaths.  The  corporal  was  secured  by  their 


BLESSED  ALEXANDER  BRIANT  423 

fellow-prisoner,  Arthur  Pitts,  a  priest,  who  was  afterwards 
banished  (January,  1585),  who  sent  it  through  Dr.  Allen 
to  Father  Alphonso  Agazzari,  S.J.,  at  the  English  College, 
Rome,  whence  it  was  transferred  to  Liege,  and  ultimately  to 
Stonyhurst,  which  is  the  history  of  many  others  of  the 
wonderful  treasures  there  preserved.  (For  this  corporal,  see 
Letters  and  Memorials  of  Cardinal  Allen,  p.  202.) 

2.  Mr.  Berkeley,  of  Spetchley  Park,  Worcestershire, 
possesses  a  Roman  Missal  which  has  been  ascribed  to  this 
blessed  martyr.  It  contains  the  words,  Alexandra  Brianto 
Alexander  Farnesius.  If  this  is  a  true  signature,  the  book  would 
seem  to  have  been  presented  by  the  famous  Duke  of  Parma 
to  his  humble  namesake.  It  has  also  some  Collects  (among 
them  that  of  St.  Augustine  of  Canterbury)  written  at  the  end 
of  the  book  in  the  same  handwriting,  but  whether  this  is  the 
martyr's  handwriting  is  not  yet  proved. 


XII. 
THE   BLESSED  JOHN   PAYNE, 

SECULAR    PRIEST. 

Chelmsford,   2  April,   1582. 

SIR  WILLIAM  PETRE,  father  of  the  first  Lord  Petrey 
was  a  typical  instance  of  a  class  which  was  the 
calamity  of  England  at  a  time  when  the  lusts  of 
her  ruler  and  the  religious  fanaticism  of  his  tools 
could  only  have  been  remedied  by  a  large  fund  of 
steady  principle  in  the  nation  at  large.  He  was  a 
man  of  some  learning,  and  as  Dr.  Petre,  was  Fellow 
of  All  Souls  and  Principal  of  Peckwater's  or  Vine 
Hall.  He  was  an  excellent  man  of  business,  a  good 
master,  a  kind  neighbour,  and  very  charitable  to  the 
poor.  But  he  acted  as  a  Visitor  and  Commissioner 
in  the  dissolution  of  monasteries  under  Henry  VIII.; 
he  presided  over  the  Bishops  as  proxy  for  Cromwell 
in  his  capacity  of  the  King's  Vicar  General;  and 
became  one  of  the  Secretaries  of  State  to  Henry  in 
1543.  He  continued  in  this  office  under  Edward  VI. , 
and  in  both  these  reigns  enriched  himself  out  of 
the  spoils  of  the  Church.  Under  Mary  he  was 
Secretary  of  State  again,  and  was  such  a  good 
Catholic  that  his  church  plunder  was  confirmed  to 
him  by  a  special  grant  from  Pope  Paul  IV.  Stranger 


BLESSED  JOHN  PAYNE 


425 


still,  he  \vas  one  of  those  charged  to  transact  all 
business  previous  to  Elizabeth's  coronation,  and  was 
still  employed  on  various  State  affairs.  However, 
as  age  increased,  his  attendances  at  the  Council 
became  less  frequent.  They  ceased  altogether  after 
1566,  when  Petre  retired  to  his  manor  at  Ingate- 
stone,  Essex,  where  he  died  the  ijth  of  January, 
1571-2.  His  widow,  however,  Anne,  daughter  of 
Sir  William  Browne,  Lord  Mayor  of  London,  was 
a  fervent  Catholic,  and  Ingatestone  became  a 
devoted  Catholic  house  and  a  refuge  for  the  hunted 
priests.  In  1855  a  priest's  hiding-place  was  acci 
dentally  discovered.  "  The  entrance  to  this  secret 
chamber  is  from  a  small  room  attached  to  what 
was  probably  the  host's  bed-room.  In  the  south 
east  corner  the  boards  were  found  to  be  decayed  ; 
upon  their  removal,  another  layer  of  loose  boards 
was  observed  to  cover  a  hole  or  trap-door  two  feet 
square.  A  ladder,  perhaps  two  centuries  old, 
remained  beneath.  The  hiding-place  measured 
fourteen  feet  in  length,  two  feet  one  inch  in 
breadth,  and  ten  feet  in  height."  l  This  house  was 
the  chief  residence  of  the  Blessed  John  Payne 
during  his  missionary  life. 

Of  his  origin  we  only  know  that  he  was  born 
in  the  diocese  of  Peterborough.2  He  had  a  brother, 
a  zealous  Protestant,  but  there  is  nothing  to  show 
whether  he  was  himself  a  convert.  He  made  his 
way  to  the  Seminary  at  Douay  in  1574,  among 
a  great  many  others — no  less  than  twelve  arriving 

1  Buckler's  Churches  in  Essex. 
'*  Douay  Diaries,  p.  6. 


426  BLESSED  JOHN  PA  YNE 

by  a  single  ship — and  at  once  commenced  his 
theological  course  ;  though  he  found  time  also  to 
take  part  in  the  administration  of  the  College  as 
(Economics.1  He  was  ordained  priest  on  Sitientes 
Saturday,  the  7th  of  April,  I576,2  and  after  making 
the  Exercises  under  the  Jesuit  Fathers  in  prepara 
tion  for  his  mission,  left  for  England  on  the  24th 
of  the  same  month  in  the  company  of  Blessed 
Cuthbert  Mayne.  Before  separating  they  had  a 
narrow  escape  of  the  loss  of  their  theological  note 
books  and  all  their  pious  treasures,  as  already 
mentioned.  Then  Blessed  Cuthbert  went  to  Devon 
shire  and  Cornwall,  and  Blessed  John  to  Essex. 
Though  he  usually  lived  at  Ingatestone,  he  also 
seems  to  have  worked  and  even  had  a  lodging  in 
London.  Thus  the  Rev.  Henry  Chaderton,  in  his 
autobiography,  says  :  "  Arriving  in  London  we  hired 
a  lodging  in  the  house  of  a  very  pious  Catholic 
woman,  who  was  very  often  visited  by  one  of  the 
Fathers  of  the  Society  of  Jesus,  and  by  the  grace 
of  God  he  received  my  sister  into  the  Church.  In 
the  same  house  also  dwelt  Mr.  Payne,  a  priest, 
.afterwards  a  martyr."3  One  of  the  first  fruits  of 
his  apostleship  was  the  priesthood  of  George 
Godsalve.  "  On  the  I5th  (of  July,  1576)  there  came 
to  us,"  says  the  Douay  Diary,  "  sent  by  the  Rev. 

1  Douay  Diaries,  p.  289. 

2  Dr.  George  Oliver  has  been  too  easily  misled  by  the  coinci 
dence  of  name   into  identifying   our   martyr  with  an  old    Marian 
priest,   against  whom  he  found   a  certificate  of  recusancy,   dated 
April  19,  1581,  in  the  act-book  of  Woolton,  Protestant  Bishop  of 
Exeter  at  the  time.      See  Collections   illustrating   the   History  of  the 
Catholic  Religion  in  the  Western  Counties  (Dolman,  1857),  pp.  3,  4. 

3  Foley,  Records  S.J.  vol.  iii.  p.  551. 


BLESSED  JOHN  PAYNE  427 


John  Payne,  priest,  who  not  long  since  left  us  for 
England,  a  distinguished  man,  and  of  varied  learn 
ing,  Mr.  Godsalve,  who  has  endured  with  constancy 
prolonged  imprisonment,  besides  many  other  bitter 
trials,  for  the  Catholic  faith.  While  the  faith  still 
flourished  among  Englishmen  he  had  advanced  in 
Holy  Orders  as  far  as  the  diaconate ;  and  all  his 
anxiety  this  long  time  past  had  been  to  receive  the 
priesthood,  and  so  carry  out  his  original  purpose.  He 
is  accordingly  admitted  amongst  us  here,  to  return 
later  to  England  for  the  good  of  many."1  He  was, 
in  fact,  made  priest  before  the  end  of  the  year,  and 
went  to  England  in  June,  1577.  He  seems  to  have 
kept  close  to  Blessed  John,  and  partaken  of  his 
fortunes.  He  was  betrayed  with  him,  and  shared 
his  imprisonment  and  torture.  After  long  imprison 
ment,  he  was  exiled  in  1585,  and  died  at  Paris. 
He  brought  with  him  to  Douay  a  letter  from 
Blessed  John,  which  is  summarized  in  the  Diary. 

"  '  On  all  sides,'  wrote  the  holy  priest,2  '  in  daily 
increasing  numbers,  a  great  many  are  reconciled  to 
the  Catholic  Church,  to  the  amazement  of  many 
of  the  heretics.  And  when  any  of  them  (as  does 
happen)  fall  into  the  hands  of  the  raging  heretics, 
with  such  fortitude,  with  such  courage  and 
constancy  do  they  publicly  profess  the  Catholic 
faith  (especially  those  who  are  gentlemen)  that  the 
heretics  are  fairly  dumbfounded  with  astonishment, 
and  already  begin  to  give  up  all  hope  of  putting 

1  Douay  Diaries,  p.  107. 
3  Ibid. 


BLESSED  JOHN  PAYNE 


them  down  by  violence.  Greatly  also  are  they 
troubled  by  the  very  name  of  the  Douay  priests 
(now  talked  of  through  the  whole  of  England), 
which  on  the  other  hand  fills  all  Catholics  with 
consolation  and  the  greatest  hope  of  the  recovery 
of  the  Catholic  religion.  They  lay  snares,  therefore, 
for  all  priests,  but  especially  and  most  eagerly 
for  those  sent  from  thence.'  He  writes  also  that 
the  daily  increasing  number  of  Catholics  makes 
them  already  earnestly  look  for  more  priests  from 
us.  He  says  the  name  of  the  Calvinistic  ministers 
has  fallen  into  the  deepest  hatred  and  contempt 
with  nearly  all.  Finally,  both  he  and  other  priests 
sent  from  us  earnestly  beseech  us  in  their  letters  to 
commend  them  earnestly  every  day  to  God,  that 
they  may  persevere  in  the  work  they  have  entered 
on,  with  fortitude  and  zeal,  against  all  the  storms 
of  the  heretics  ;  and  especially  that  they  may  not  be 
infected  by  the  vices  that  abound  there,  nor  polluted 
with  the  filth  around  them,  and  the  like  ;  in  such  a 
dreadful  and  unheard  of  way  does  the  medley  of  all 
vices  now  reign  in  that  unbelieving  and  unhappy 
kingdom,  as  to  fill  those  who  are  animated  with 
any  zeal  for  God's  service,  with  shuddering 
horror." 

The  holy  priest's  ministry  was  not  long  without 
interruption.1  On  the  gth  of  February,  1577,  news 
reached  the  Seminary  that  he  had  shortly  before 
been  arrested  at  Lady  Petre's  and  thrown  into 
prison  for  the  Faith.  But  this  time  he  was  not 

1  Douay  Diaries,  p.  115. 


BLESSED  JOHN  PAYNE  429 

detained  long.  On  March  the  loth,  the  diarist  notes 
that  two  new-comers  brought  word  "  that  the  anger 
of  the  heretical  magistrates  lately  roused  against  the 
Catholics,  especially  those  returning  from  (Douay) 
had  somewhat  cooled,  and  Mr.  John  Payne,  priest, 
and  Mr.  Dryland  had  been  discharged  from  prison." 
As  the  year  advanced,  however,  the  storm  broke 
out  again  and  much  more  violently.  It  was  to 
this  storm  that  Blessed  Cuthbert  Mayne,  Blessed 
Thomas  Sherwood,  and  Blessed  John  Nelson  fell 
victims.  Blessed  John,  perhaps  yielding  to  the 
times,  left  England  and  arrived  at  Douay  on  the 
I4th  of  November,  1577. 

When  he  returned  again  does  not  appear.  But 
whenever  it  was  he  found  a  home  once  more  at 
Ingatestone.  " Judas"  Eliot,1  in  his  evidence  at 
the  trial  of  Blessed  Edmund  Campion  and  his 
companions,  stated  that  he  had  become  acquainted 
with  Payne  at  Christmas,  1579,  at  "my  Lady  Petre's 
house  ;  "  and  it  may  perhaps  be  taken  as  probable 
that  he  would  not  have  chosen  for  his  story  a  period 
when  it  could  have  been  shown  that  the  martyr  was 
out  of  England.  The  missioner  passed  as  a  steward 
of  Lady  Petre.  But  whatever  precautions  might  be 
used  against  other  perils,  there  were  none  that  could 
protect  the  servants  of  God  against  the  "  perils  from 
false  brethren  "  with  which  the  wiles  of  Cecil 
and  Walsingham  surrounded  them.  George  Eliot, 
with  whom  the  reader  has  already  made  acquaint 
ance,  was  really  a  Catholic,  and  was  successively 
employed  in  positions  of  trust  in  the  household  of 

1  Cobbett,  State  Trials,  vol.  i.  p.  1067. 


430  BLESSED  JOHN  PA  YNE 

Lady  Petre,  Mr.  Roper,  and  others,  where  he  became 
acquainted  with  many  priests,  of  whom  he  gave 
afterwards  a  list  to  the  Government,  to  the  number 
of  thirty.  But  he  was  a  profligate  and  a  thief.  He 
embezzled  sums  of  money  that  came  into  his  hands 
in  transactions  with  which  he  was  entrusted  by 
Lady  Petre :  and  among  other  immoralities  he 
enticed  a  young  woman  away  from  the  Roper 
household.  He  then  applied  to  Blessed  John  to 
marry  them,  and  on  his  refusal  determined  to  be 
revenged.  This  was  unfortunately  easy  and  at  the 
same  time  profitable.  His  evil  courses  had  culmi 
nated  in  a  murder,  which  Blessed  Campion  publicly 
declared  in  court  that  he  had  confessed.  With 
accusations  of  murder  and  dishonesty  hanging  over 
him,  and  under  the  pinch  of  need,  he  saw  his  way 
to  immunity,  to  profit,  and  to  revenge  at  a  stroke ; 
and  accordingly  the  Blessed  John  Payne  was 
arrested  in  the  county  of  Warwick,  and  examined 
by  Walsingham  at  Greenwich,  where  the  Court 
was  then  staying.  Walsingham,  "  so  far  as  he  could 
gather  by  the  examinations  that  he  had  taken/' 
thought  the  charge  of  conspiracy  "  would  prove 
nothing.  And  yet  it  was  happy  that  the  parties 
charged  were  taken,  for  they  be  runagate  priests 
bred  up  at  Rome  and  Douay,"  and  so  he  committed 
them  to  the  Tower  on  the  I4th  of  July,  1581.  The 
diarist  recording  the  fact  adds  that  it  was  "by  the 
betrayal  of  a  certain  Eliot,  whom  he  had  loaded 
with  many  benefits."1 

1  Diary  of  the  Tower,  July  14,  1581.  Walsingham  wrote  to 
Burleigh  the  same  day,  "  I  have  been  all  this  day  by  her  Majesty's 
express  commandment  set  at  work  about  the  examinations  of 


BLESSED  JOHN  PAYNE  431 


The  same  day  his  friend  George  Godsalve  was 
likewise  examined  and  committed  to  the  Tower, 
and  we  may  take  it  that  Eliot  was  at  the  bottom 
of  this  too,  for  the  following  information  to  the 
Government,  somewhat  later,  is  signed  with  his 
initials,  "  G.  E."  "  Oxfordshire. — John  Payne  said 
Mass  at  Mr.  William  Moore  his  house  at  Haddon, 
upon  Sunday,  being  the  2nd  of  July,  anno  Rega-  23. 
At  which  Mass  were  the  said  \Yilliam  Moore 
and  his  wife.  .  .  .  Godsalve  said  Mass  there  on 
Tuesday  the  fourth  of  the  said  month,  at  which 
Mass  were  all  the  persons  aforesaid,  the  said 
William  Moore  excepted."  1 

We  have  already  heard  Walsingham's  real 
opinion  on  the  case.  That  the  only  valid  objection 
to  Payne  was  hjs  being  a  "priest  bred  at  Douay," 
and  that  the  charge  of  treason  would  "  come  to 
nothing."  But  it  was  by  no  means  his  intention 
to  insist  on  the  true  charge  and  to  drop  the  false 
one.  The  martyrdoms  of  1577  and  1578  had 
brought  great  odium  on  the  Government  at  home 
and  abroad,  and  a  way  must  be  found  of  basing 
the  butchery  of  priests  on  some  more  presentable 

certain  persons  charged  to  have  conspired  to  attempt  somewhat 
against  her  own  person.  But  as  far  as  I  can  gather  by  these 
examinations  that  I  have  already  taken  I  think  it  will  prove 
nothing.  And  yet  it  is  happy  that  the  parties  charged  are  taken, 
for  that  they  be  runagate  priests,  such  as  have  been  bred  up  in  Rome 
and  Douay,  and  seek  to  corrupt  her  Majesty's  good  subjects  within 
this  realm."  (R.O.  Domestic,  Elizabeth,  vol.  cxlix.  69.)  On  July  15 
there  is  an  entry  in  the  Treasurer  of  the  Household's  Accounts  of 
£12  to  John  Cooper,  under-sheriff  of  Warwick,  for  his  charges  in 
apprehending  Payne  and  Godsalve  and  bringing  them  to  the 
Court  at  Greenwich  for  examination.  (R.O.) 
1  Foley,  Records  S.J.  vol.  ii.  p.  589. 


432  BLESSED  JOHN  PAYNE 

charge.  If  Eliot,  Munday,  and  their  like  were  not 
told  this,  they  easily  came  to  understand  it,  and 
Eliot  was  soon  ready  with  a  new  and  enlarged 
edition  of  his  accusation.  Here  is  the  precious 
document,  part  of  a  long  paper,  headed  "  Certain 
notes  and  remembrances  concerning  a  reconciliation 
by  me  exhibited  to  the  Rt.  Hon.  my  good  the  Earl  of 
Leicester,"  and  endorsed  in  Burleigh's  hand,  "  Payne 
to  be  examined." 

"The  said  priest  Payne  went  about  once  to 
persuade  me  to  kill  (Jesus  preserve  her)  the  Queen's 
Majesty,  and  said  that  there  were  divers  matters 
from  the  Pope  published  against  her,  that  it  was 
lawful  to  kill  her  Highness  without  any  offence  to 
God  ward.  And  said  unto  me  that  he  had  talked 
beyond  the  seas  with  the  Earl  of  Westmorland, 
Dr.  Allen,  and  divers  others  Englishmen  touching 
that  matter,  who  let  him  to  understand  that  the 
Pope  would  yield  as  much  allowance  of  money  as 
would  fully  furnish  fifty  men,  to  every  man  a 
good  horse,  an  arming  sword,  a  privy  coat,  and 
a  pocket-dagge.  These  men  should  be  had  in 
readiness  against  some  convenient  time  that  her 
Majesty  went  in  progress,  not  all  in  a  livery,  but 
in  sundry  sorts  of  apparel.  And,  for  that  it  was 
supposed  your  honour,  my  Lord  Treasurer,  and 
Mr.  Secretary  Walsingham  were  like  to  be  there, 
and  that  you  were  all  thought  to  be  enemies  to  the 
papists,  it  was  appointed  that  four  or  five  should 
set  upon  her  Majesty's  royal  person,  and  so  upon 
the  sudden  to  destroy  her  Highness ;  three  upon 


BLESSED  JOHN  PAYNE 


433 


your  Honour,  three  upon  my  Lord  Treasurer,  and 
three  upon  Mr.  Secretary  Walsingham,  all  which  in 
a  moment  even  at  one  instant,  [were]  to  be  destroyed 
as  aforesaid.  The  rest  of  the  said  company  of  fifty  to 
be  ready  when  the  deed  were  done,  to  come  to  and 
fro  with  their  horses  amongst  the  people  to  dash 
them  out  of  countenance,  that  they  should  not  know 
what  part  to  take."  l 

For  eight  long  months  the  holy  confessor  was 
kept  a  close  prisoner  without  being  brought  to 
trial.  During  this  time  he  was  more  than  once 
cruelly  racked.  There  is  a  minute  in  the  Council 
book  on  August  the  I4th,~  ordering  his  torture,  and 
at  the  end  of  the  month  the  news  of  his  racking 
had  reached  Douay  and  is  recorded  in  the  Diary. 
On  October  the  2Qth,  another  minute  in  the  Council 
book  orders  ''the  examining  of  Edmund  Campion, 
Thomas  Ford,  and  others,  prisoners  in  the  Tower, 
upon  certain  matters,  and  to  put  them  unto  the 
rack,"3  and  on  the  3ist,  the  Diary  of  the  Tower 
records  "  John  Payne,  priest,  was  most  violently 
tormented  on  the  rack." 

It  was  on  one  of  these  occasions  after  his 
racking  that  Sir  Owen  Hopton  sent  his  servant  to 
him  with  this  letter. 

''  I  have  herewith  sent  you  pen,  ink,  and  paper, 
and  I  pray  you  write  what  you  have  said  to  Eliot 

1   B.M.  Lansdowne   MSS.  vol.  xxxiii.  n.  61  ;    Foley,  RecorJs  S.J. 
vol.  ii.  p.  588. 

-  Jardine,  Appendix,  p.  88;  Dasent,  Privy  Council,  xiii.  p.  172. 
a  Jardine,  p.  89  ;  Dasent,  p.  249. 

CC 


434  BLESSED  JOHN  PA  YNE 

and  to  your  host  in  London,  concerning  the  Queen 
and  the  State  ;  and  thereof  fail  not,  as  you  will 
answer  at  your  uttermost  peril." 

The  martyr's  hands  were  crippled  by  the  torture, 
and  he  was  obliged  to  dictate  his  answer  to  the 
servant. 

"  Right  Worshipful, 

"  My  duty  remembered,  being  not  able 
to  write  without  better  hands,  I  have  by  your 
appointment  used  the  help  of  your  servant.  For 
answer  to  your  interrogations  I  have  already  said 
sufficient  for  a  man  that  regardeth  his  own  salvation, 
and  that  with  such  advised  asseverations  uttered, 
as  amongst  Christian  men  ought  to  be  believed. 
Yet  once  again  briefly  for  obedience  sake. 

"  First,  touching  her  Majesty,  I  pray  God  long 
to  preserve  her  Highness  to  His  honour  and  her 
heart's  desire;  unto  whom  I  always  have  and  during 
life  will  wish  no  worse  than  to  my  own  soul.  If  her 
pleasure  be  not  that  I  shall  live  and  serve  her  as 
my  Sovereign  Prince,  then  will  I  willingly  die  her 
faithful  subject,  and  I  trust,  God's  true  servant. 

"Touching  the  State,  I  protest  that  I  am  and 
ever  have  been  free  from  the  knowledge  of  any 
practice  whatever,  either  within  or  without  the 
realm,  intended  against  the  same.  For  the  verity 
whereof,  as  I  have  often  before  you  and  the  rest  of 
her  Grace's  commissioners  called  God  to  witness, 
so  do  I  now  again  ;  and  one  day  before  His  Majesty 
the  truth,  now  not  credited,  will  be  then  revealed. 


BLESSED  JOHN  PA  YNE  435 


"  For  Eliot  I  forgive  his  monstrous  wickedness 
and  defy  his  malicious  inventions;  wishing  that  his 
former  behaviour  towards  others  being  well  known, 
as  hereafter  it  will,  were  not  a  sufficient  reproof  of 
these  devised  slanders. 

"  For  host  or  other  person  living,  in  London  or 
elsewhere,  unless  they  be  by  subornation  of  my 
bloody  enemy  corrupted,  I  know  they  can  neither 
for  word,  deed,  or  any  disloyalty,  justly  touch  me. 
And  so  before  the  seat  of  God,  as  also  before  the 
sight  of  men,  will  I  answer  at  my  utmost  peril. 
"  Her  Majesty's  faithful  subject,  and 

"  Your  Worship's  humble  prisoner, 

"JOHN   PAYNE,  Priest." 

"  He  was  once  or  twice  demanded,"  says  the 
Briefe  Historie,  "whether  he  would  go  to  their 
church  (for  that  would  have  made  amends  for  all 
these  treasons).  *  Why,'  saith  he,  'you  say  I  am  in 
for  treason.  Discharge  me  of  that,  and  then  you 
shall  know  farther  of  my  mind  for  the  other.'  "  l 

The  trial  and  martyrdom  of  Campion,  Sherwin, 
and  Briant  had  passed,  and  Blessed  John  was  yet 
left  in  his  cell  in  the  Tower.  Another  quarter  of  a  year 
went  by,  and  still  nothing  more  happened.  It  seemed 
as  if,  with  the  utterly  discredited  accusation  of  Eliot 
only  against  him,  the  Government  shrank  from  a 
trial.  The  ninth  month  of  his  captivity  had  begun, 
when  one  night,  March  the  2oth,  he  was  roused  from 
bed  by  a  knocking  at  the  door  of  his  room.  It  was 

1  Briefe  Historie,   p.  128.      This  is  the  chief  authority  for   the 
martyr's  trial. 


436  BLESSED  JOHN  PAYNE 

Hopton,  the  Lieutenant  of  the  Tower,  himself,  who 
summoned  him,  and  he  found  that  officers  were 
waiting  to  take  him  to  Chelmsford  gaol  by  orders 
of  the  Council.1  With  very  gratuitous  brutality  he 
was  refused  leave  to  dress  himself,  for  he  had 
nothing  on  but  his  cassock,  which  he  had  thrown 
about  him  to  open  the  door.  He  was  not  allowed 
even  to  take  his  purse,  and  the  Briefe  Historic 
affirms  that  Lady  Hopton,  with  that  incredible 
mixture  of  meanness,  cruelty  and  injustice,  of 
which  instances  abound  at  the  period,  took  care  to 
secure  it  for  her  own  use. 

On  the  following  Friday,  the  23rd,  the  martyr 
was  arraigned  at  the  Assizes,  together  with  a 
number  of  thieves  and  felons.  The  indictment 
simply  recited  Eliot's  accusation  which  has  been 
given.2 

That  worthy  personage  of  course  made  no 
difficulty  about  swearing  to  his  tale.  He  had  found 
it  profitable  already.  "  Of  George  Eliot,"  says 
Mr.  Simpson,  "  and  the  charge  of  murder  against 
him,  I  have  already  spoken.  That  charge  had, 
however,  now  been  entirely  wiped  out  by  his  good 
service.  He  had  captured  Campion,  and  had  been 

1  The  letter  to  the  Lieutenant  of  the  Tower  from  the  Council 
ordering  him  to  hand  over  John  Payne  into  the  charge  of  the 
sheriff  of  the  county  of  Essex  is  dated  Greenwich,  March  12, 
1582.  Dasent,  Acts  of  the  Privy  Council. 

'2  George  Eliot,  "one  of  the  ordinary  yeomen  of  her  Majesty's 
chamber,"  and  Ralph  Hill  received  £<\  "  for  their  charges  in  being 
sent  by  commandment  of  the  Lords  of  her  Majesty's  Council  from 
Greenwich  to  Chelmsford  in  Essex  upon  special  business  of  her 
Majesty."  Treasurer  of  the  Household's  Accounts,  April  2,  1582. 


BLESSED  JOHN  PAYNE  437 


the  means  of  taking  nine  other  priests;  he  had  been 
made  a  yeoman  of  her  Majesty's  guard,  and  had 
come  flaunting  into  court  with  his  red  coat.  He 
had  shown  too  well  how  intimate  he  was  with 
the  secrets  of  priests,  and  his  testimony,  though 
evidently  forged,  was  too  valuable  to  lose.  Campion 
took  nothing  by  his  impeaching  this  man's  witness."  l 
Blessed  John  Payne  also  gained  nothing  by  impeach 
ing  it.  He  probably  knew  well  that  this  would  be  the 
case.  He  did  impeach  it,  nevertheless,  that  he 
might  not  neglect  any  proper  defence  of  his  life. 

"  He  refelled  Eliot's  deposition.      First,   taking 
God  to  witness  on   his  soul,  that  he  never  had  such 
speech  with   him.     Secondly,  he  brought  two  places 
of  Scripture  -  and  a  statute  to  prove  that  without  two 
sufficient  witnesses  no  man  should   be  condemned. 
Thirdly,     he    proved     Eliot     insufficient     to     be    a 
witness  for  having  been  guilty,  ist.   Of  oppression  of 
poor  men,  even  unto  death.     2ndly.  Of  a   rape  and 
other   notorious   lewdnesses.      ardly.  Of    breach   of 
contract   and   cozening  the   Lady   Petre    (widow   of 
Sir  William    Petre)    of  money.     4thly.  Of  changing 
oft  his  religion.     5thly.  Of  malice  against  himself, 
adding  that   he  was   also   attached   of  murder   and 
such-like  acts,  and  was  a  notorious  dissembler,"  &c. 
No    attempt    was    made    to    corroborate    Eliot's 
story.      The  counsel  for  the  Crown   urged   as  pre 
sumptions  against  the  accused,  that  he  had  "gone 
beyond    the    seas    and    been    made    priest   by  the 
Bishop  of  Cambrai,"  and  consequently,  as  he  falsely 

1  Simpson,  Life  of  Campion,  p.  312. 
"  John  viii.  7;  Deut.  xvii.  6. 


43$  BLESSED  JOHN  PAYNE 

inferred,  taken  an  oath  to  the  Pope;  "that  he 
had  speech  with  traitors  in  Flanders,  with  the 
Earl  of  Westmorland.  Dr.  Allen,  and  Dr.  Bristow, 
and  had  travelled  with  a  traitor's  son,  Mr.  William 
Tempest."  It  is  needless  to  say  what  short  work 
a  modern  counsel  for  the  defence  would  have  made 
of  all  this,  but  in  those  days  no  such  "  indulgence  " 
was  accorded  to  the  accused  ;  however,  the  holy 
priest  answered  that  "to  go  beyond  the  seas  was 
not  a  sufficient  token  of  a  traitor,  neither  to  be 
made  priest  by  the  Bishop  of  Cambrai,  for  so  were 
many  others,  nothing  at  all  thinking  of  treason.1 
That  for  his  part  he  was  not  the  Pope's  scholar,2 
neither  had  any  maintenance  of  him  ;  for  when  he 
was  at  the  College  it  had  as  yet  no  pension  from  the 
Pope.3  That  he  had  never  talked  with  the  Earl  of 
Westmorland  ;  and  that  Dr.  Allen  and  Dr.  Bristow 
had  never  talked,  to  his  knowledge,  of  any  such 
things.  That  Mr.  Tempest  was  an  honest  gentle 
man,  and  never  talked  to  him  about  treason  ;  neither 
was  it  unlawful  for  him  to  keep  him  company, 
seeing  that  he  was  a  servant  to  a  Right  Honourable 
Counsellor,  Sir  Christopher  Hatton." 

The  jury  gave  the  verdict  expected  of  them,  and 
the    next    day    Blessed    John    was    brought   up    for 

1  The  Act  of    Parliament   deciding  that  ordination  over    seas 
should  be  regarded  as  treason  was  not  passed  till  1585. 

2  The  Pope's  scholars  took  an  oath  to  labour  on  the  English 
Mission  when  sent  by  their  Superiors. 

8  Gregory  XIII.  granted  an  allowance  to  the  College  of  100 
crowns  a  month,  in  1575,  which  he  afterwards  increased.  See 
Douav  Diaries,  Introduction,  p.  Ixxiv.  Blessed  John,  however,  left 
early  in  1576. 


BLESSED  JOHN  PA  YNE  439 

judgment.  He  was  asked  according  to  the  usual 
form  whether  he  had  any  reason  to  offer  why 
sentence  should  not  be  given.  But  he  answered 
that  he  had  said  sufficiently,  "  alleging  that  it  was 
against  the  law  of  God  and  man  that  he  should  be 
condemned  for  one  man's  witness,  notoriously  in 
famous."  He  excused  the  jury  as  ''poor,  simple 
men,  nothing  at  all  understanding  what  treason 
is,"  and  lastly  added,  "  if  it  please  the  Oueen  and 
her  Council  that  I  shall  die,  I  refer  my  cause  to 
God." 

The  Judge  (whose  name  was  Gaudy)  then  pro 
nounced  sentence,  and  afterwards  exhorted  the 
martyr  to  repent  himself,  "  although,"  said  he,  "you 
may  better  instruct  me  herein." 

The  execution  was  fixed  for  eight  o'clock  in  the 
morning  of  Monday,  April  the  2nd.  Like  most  of 
the  martyrs  of  this  period,  he  was  harassed  in  his 
closing  days  by  the  importunity  of  the  Puritanical 
preachers.  The  whole  of  Sunday,  April  the  ist, 
till  five  o'clock,  two  ministers,  named  Withers  and 
Sone,  were  with  him,  urging  him  to  give  up  his 
religion,  "the  which,"  said  they,  "  if  you  will  alter, 
we  doubt  not  to  procure  mercy  for  you."  So  that 
"  by  their  foolish  babbling,"  as  he  said,  "  they  did 
much  vex  and  trouble  him."  On  the  other  hand,  in 
the  town  and  in  the  county,  where  he  had  long  lived 
and  seems  to  have  been  well  known,  the  general 
feeling  towards  him  was  one  of  good -will  and 
sympathy.  "  All  the  town  loved  him  exceedingly," 
says  the  Brief e  Historic,  "  so  did  the  keepers  and 
most  of  the  magistrates  of  the  shire.  No  man 


440  BLESSED  JOHN  PAYNE 

seemed  in  countenance  to  mislike  him,  but  much 
sorrowed  and  lamented  his  death."  The  writer  of 
this  touching  account  adds,  "  I,  amongst  many, 
coming  unto  him  about  ten  of  the  clock  with  the 
officers,  he  most  comfortably  and  meekly  uttered 
words  of  constancy  unto  me  and  with  a  loving  kiss 
took  leave  of  me." 

At  the  place  of  his  martyrdom  he  knelt  down 
and  prayed  for  nearly  half  an  hour.  He  smiled  as 
he  went  up  the  ladder,  and  kissed  the  gallows.  He 
then  addressed  the  people,  and  made  a  full  declara 
tion  of  his  faith  in  the  Most  Holy  Trinity  and  the 
Incarnation,  for  the  strange  reason  that  the  common 
people,  as  he  was  told,  thought  him  to  be  a  Jesuit ; 
and  the  report  had  been  sent  about  that  "the 
Jesuits'  opinion  was  that  Christ  is  not  God."  He 
then  forgave  all,  and  Eliot  by  name,  and  prayed 
for  him,  and  solemnly  protested  his  complete  inno 
cence  of  every  treasonable  act  or  word. 

Then  followed  the  usual  wrangle  to  induce  him 
to  acknowledge  some  guilt.  He  answered  Lord 
Rich  that  to  confess  an  untruth  was  to  condemn  his 
own  soul,  and  "  Sweet  my  lord,"  he  went  on, 
"  certify  her  Majesty  thereof,  that  she  suffer  not 
hereafter  innocent  blood  to  be  cast  away."  At  this 
a  preacher  who  stood  by  cried  out  that  by  these 
words  alone  he  proved  he  was  a  notable  traitor,  since 
he  dared  to  accuse  the  Queen's  Majesty  of  shedding 
innocent  blood  if  ever  she  touched  one  of  those 
anointed  by  the  Pope  of  Rome.  The  martyr 
meekly  answered,  "  Verily  you  treat  me  unkindly, 
for  I  did  not  say  this,  but  only  asked  his  Lordship 


BLESSED  JOHN  PAYNE  44I 


to  beg  the  Queen  not  to  let  innocent  blood  be  shed." 
Some  said  he  was  a  traitor  like  Campion,  who 
had  been  convicted  by  several  witnesses,  to  which 
he  replied  that  he  had  asked  Campion  and  his 
companions,  a  little  before  their  death,  if  they  had 
really  committed  the  crimes  they  were  charged  with, 
and  with  one  voice  they  had  answered  "  No."  One 
of  the  ministers  insisted  that  Mr.  Hart  had  disclosed 
the  whole  conspiracy,  to  which  Blessed  John  replied 
that  he  was  there  to  answer  for  himself,  not  to 
defend  others.  Someone  else  said  he  had  acknow 
ledged  his  guilt  to  a  certain  Lady  Pole:  but  he 
declared  he  did  not  even  know  any  such  person. 
Then  one  of  the  ministers  "said  that  Mr.  Payne's 
brother  confessed  to  him  in  his  chamber  seven 
years  ago  that  he  talked  of  such  an  intention.  To 
this  he  answered,  being  somewhat  moved,  '  Bone 
Deits !  my  brother  is,  and  always  hath  been,  a  very 
earnest  Protestant  ;  yet  I  know  he  will  not  say  so 
falsely  of  me ;  '  and  then  he  desired  his  brother 
should  be  sent  for."  The  brother  was  not  at  hand, 
and  the  sheriff  would  not  delay  ;  when  he  was  found, 
soon  after  the  execution,  he  swore,  of  course,  that 
the  whole  thing  was  a  fabrication.1  Next  came  the 
usual  pressure  on  the  martyr  to  pray  in  English  and 
to  join  with  the  ministers,  to  which  he  replied  "  that 
he  prayed  in  a  tongue  which  he  well  understood." 
And  they  went  on  to  ask  if  he  did  not  repent  of 

"  He  swore  unto  us  with  great  admiration  that  it  was  most 
false,  and  told  us  that  he  would  so  certify  my  Lord  Rich.  Imme 
diately  he  was  sent  for  to  my  Lord,  and  I  took  horse  to  ride  away, 
and  thereof  as  yet  hear  no  more."  (Bviefe  Historic,  p.  127.) 


442  BLESSED  JOHN  PAYNE 

having  said  Mass,  but  his  soul  was  now  raised  by 
our  Lord  into  the  peaceful  region  of  contemplation, 
and  he  no  longer  heard  them. 

As  they  turned  the  ladder,  he  was  heard  to 
pronounce  again  and  again  the  holy  name  of  Jesus, 
and  he  died  without  any  convulsive  movement  of 
hand  or  foot.  The  kindly  feeling  of  the  crowd  inter 
fered  to  prevent  the  infliction  of  the  last  barbarities 
until  he  was  dead.  "  They  very  courteously  caused 
men  to  hang  on  his  feet,  and  set  the  knot  to  his  ear, 
commanding  Bull,  the  hangman  from  Newgate,  to 
despatch  in  the  quartering  of  him,  lest,  as  they 
said,  he  should  revive  ;  and  rebuked  him  that  he  did 
not  despatch  speedily." 

E.  S.  K. 


AUTHORITIES.  —  Brief e  Historic,  pp.  131 — 140;  Concertatio, 
ff.  81 — 84  ;   Diary  of  the  Tower  in  Rishton's  Sander. 


XIII. 
THE    BLESSED    THOMAS    FORD, 

SECULAR    PRIEST. 
Tyburn,  28    May,   1582. 

OF  the  little  group  of  friends,  who  in  1569  and 
1570  left  Oxford  and  what  the  world  had  to  offer 
them,  to  embrace  the  Faith  and  give  their  lives 
to  God  in  the  priesthood,  two  had  now  won 
the  martyr's  crown  ;  first  Cuthbert  Mayne,  then 
Edmund  Campion.  The  Blessed  Thomas  Ford  l 
was  now  to  join  their  glorious  company.  We  have 
seen  how  even  while  a  Protestant  he  was  the  means 
of  saving  Blessed  Cuthbert  Mayne  from  a  premature 
imprisonment,  a  trial  which  might  have  altered  the 
whole  subsequent  course  of  his  life.  Perhaps  it  was 
this  charitable  deed  which  obtained  for  Thomas 
Ford  the  grace  of  conversion  and  of  martyrdom. 

Like  his  friend,  he  was  a  native  of  Devonshire.'2 
He  entered  Trinity  College,  Oxford,  where  he  was 
a  contemporary  of  George  Blackwell,  afterwards 

1  He  was  also  known  as  Saltwell  and  Harwood. 

2  He  is  called  "  Kourde  of  Lye  "  in  Domestic,  Elizabeth,  Addenda, 
xxviii.  59,  iii.     Lye  is  an  Oxfordshire  hamlet,  and  Catholic  Fords 
lived  at  Shifford  close  by  in  1608,  but  the  family  came  from  Devon 


444  BLESSED  THOMAS  FORD 

Archpriest. l  He  became  a  fellow  of  his  College, 
and  Wood  says  was  made  President.2  Even  while 
at  the  University  he  had  the  strongest  Catholic 
sympathies  and  openly  expressed  them.  Father 
Warford:i  says  of  him  : 

"  He  was  a  man  of  most  unblemished  character, 
of  excellent  life,  and  most  fervent  zeal.  I  have  often 
heard  it  related  of  him,  amongst  other  things,  that 
when  one  of  his  fellow-masters  in  the  ordinary  theo 
logical  disputations  of  the  College  gave  in  to  the 
fashion  of  the  times,  and  spoke  somewhat  insolently 
of  the  Sovereign  Pontiff,  he  boldly  began  his  answer 
to  the  discourse  with  the  words  :  '  I  cannot  endure 
such  disrespect  towards  co  virtuous  and  holy  a 
father.'  As  he  put  no  restraint  on  his  feelings,  he 
was  at  last  compelled  by  this  and  the  like  outbursts 
to  abandon  the  College  and  all  its  advantages, 
though  indeed  he  rather  hastened  eagerly  to  the 
priesthood." 

It  was  in  the  course  of  the  year  1570  that  he 
broke  away  from  every  tie  and  went  to  the  recently 
established  Seminary  at  Douay,  where  Gregory 
Martin,  Blessed  Edmund  Campion,  and  other 
friends,  had  preceded  him.  He  was  one  of  the  first 
three  of  its  students  ordained,  the  other  two  being 

1  "  Thos.  Forde  or  Fourde,  supplicated  for  B.A.  and  disp.  May  8, 
1563,  adm.  May  13,  supp.  for  M.A.  April  18,  1567,  licensed  April  21, 
incepted  July  14."  (Boase,  Register  of  the  University  of  Oxford,  i.  251.) 

2  Fasti  Oxonienses,  April  21,  1567. 

3  MS.   Relation  in  the    Archives  of   Westminster,   vol.    iv.   65 
(printed  in  Pollen's  Acts  of  English  Martyrs,  p.  251). 


BLESSED  THOMAS  FORD  445 

Gregory  Martin  and  Richard  Bristow.  They  went 
to  Brussels  for  their  ordination,  and  received  the 
tonsure,  minor  orders,  and  the  three  Sacred  Orders 
on  different  days  in  March,  1573.  He  remained 
another  three  years  in  the  College  and  had  the 
happiness  of  welcoming  a  continual  succession  of 
University  men,  many  of  whom  must  have  been  old 
friends  ; — William  Weston,  the  intimate  friend  of 
Campion  :  William  Sheprey,  of  Corpus  Christi  ;  his 
colleague  at  Trinity,  George  Blackwell  :  Thomas 
Worthington,  Edward  Rishton,  and  Laurence 
Johnson,  the  martyr,  of  Brasenose  :  Robert  Turner 
and  Blessed  Ralph  Sherwin,  of  Exeter ;  Henry 
Sha\v,  Henry  Holland,  Jonas  Meredith,  and  Blessed 
Cuthbert  Mayne,  of  St.  John's  :  almost  all  destined 
to  take  an  important  place  in  the  Catholic  annals 
of  England. 

He  left  Douay  for  England  on  the  2nd  of  May, 
1576,  a  few  days  after  Blessed  Cuthbert  Mayne  and 
Blessed  John  Payne.  He  was  able  to  work  in  our 
Lord's  vineyard  for  five  years  without  interruption, 
a  long  career  if  we  look  at  the  average  of  the  mis 
sionaries  at  that  time.  Father  Warford  says  he 
laboured  chiefly  in  Oxfordshire,  and  though  known 
to  many  at  the  University,  such  was  the  regard 
which  his  character  inspired  that  no  one  thought 
of  betraying  him.  After  a  time  he  appears  to  have 
become  resident  chaplain  at  Lyford,  in  Berkshire, 
where,  it  will  be  remembered,  the  Yate  family  gave 
shelter  to  some  of  the  Bridgettine  nuns  of  Syon, 
who  had  returned  to  England  in  order  to  obtain 
pecuniary  aid  for  their  exiled  and  destitute  com- 


446  BLESSED  THOMAS  FORD 

munity.  He  thus  found  at  Lyford  work  sufficient 
both  for  himself  and  for  his  colleague,  John 
Collington. 

Here  it  was,  on  the  lyth  of  July,  1581,  that  he 
was  captured  by  "Judas"  Eliot,  in  the  little  hiding- 
hole  where  he  lay  with  Campion  and  Collington. 
Father  Warford  says  that  in  the  crisis  of  their 
danger  Blessed  Thomas  wanted  to  give  himself 
up  to  the  searching  party  in  the  hope  of  saving 
Campion,  who,  however,  would  not  hear  of  it. 
Probably,  besides  his  generous  charity,  Ford  was 
actuated  by  the  feeling  that  it  was  he  who  had 
been  the  means  of  bringing  Campion  into  their 
common  peril.  For  he  it  was  who  had  ridden 
after  the  two  Jesuits  when  they  had  quitted  Lyford, 
on  the  i2th,  and  after  a  hard  struggle,  brought  them 
back  from  the  inn  near  Oxford  in  triumph. 

With  the  holy  Jesuit  and  Collington  he  shared 
the  three  days'  journey  to  London,  and  the  glorious 
dishonour  of  the  progress  through  the  city,  "their 
elbows  tied  behind  them,  their  hands  in  front,  and 
their  legs  under  their  horses'  bellies," 1  and  on 
Saturday,  July  the  22nd,  was  committed  a  close 
prisoner  to  the  Tower.2 

There    are   three    entries    in    the    Council   book 


1  Simpson's  Campion,  p.  228. 

2  There    exists  an  Order  from  Council    (July  30,  1581)   to   the 
Knight-Marshal  to  remove  Ford,  alias  Saltwell,  and  Collington,  alias 
Peters,  from  the  Tower  to  the  Marshalsea  ;  and  not  to  allow  them 
speech  with  any  other  prisoner    for  religion.  (Dasent,  Acts  of  the 
Privy  Council,  vol.  xiii.  p.  147.)     But  if  this  order  was  carried  out, 
both  sufferers  must  have  been  brought  back  again  later  on,  for  the 
record  of  their  trial  states  that  they  came  from  the  Tower. 


BLESSED  THOMAS  FORD  447 

directing  his  torture,  dated  July  the  joth,  August 
the  i-j-th,  and  October  the  2gth.  The  commis 
sioners  were  instructed  to  extract  from  him  and 
his  two  companions,  "where  they  have  layne,  and 
whether  there  were  a  mass  said  in  Mrs.  Yate's 
house  or  no  at  their  last  being  there  ;  "'  and  again, 
"  to  examine  Campion,  Peters  [Collington] ,  and 
Ford,  who  refuse  to  confess,  whether  they  have 
said  anie  masses  or  no,  whom  they  have  confessed, 
and  where  Persons  and  the  other  priests  be,  touch 
ing  those  points,  and  to  put  them  to  fear  of  torture, 
if  they  shall  refuse  to  answer  directly  thereto."  ' 

He  was  one  of  the  seven  priests  tried  the  day 
after  Blessed  Campion  and  his  companions  on  the 
same  charge  of  conspiracy  against  the  Oueen. 
The  verdict  had  been  given  against  all  seven,-  when 
one,  Mr.  Lancaster,  came  forward  and  declared  to 
the  court  that  he  was  in  company  with  Collington, 
Ford's  fellow-chaplain  at  Lyford,  in  Grey's  Inn, 
on  the  very  day  that  he  was  charged  with  plotting 
at  Rheirns,  where  indeed  he  had  never  been  in 
his  life.  In  the  face  of  this  evidence  from  a  man 
of  position  known  to  the  judges,  Collington  was 
not  sentenced ;  but  he  was  not  discharged,  and 
after  nearly  three  years  more  of  imprisonment  in 
the  Tower,  he  was  banished  the  country.  As  to 
the  rest  of  the  accused,  there  was  no  evidence 
against  them  but  that  which  had  thus  been  proved 
and  acknowledged  to  be  untrustworthy,  but  neither 

1  Jardine,  pp.  87 — 89,  and  Dasent,  Acts  of  the  Privy  Council,  \o\.\\\\. 
pp.  171  and  249. 

-  The  indictment,  trial,  and  sentence  of  Ford,  Filbie,  Briant, 
Hart,  Shert,  and  Richardson,  Coram  Rege,  23  and  24  Eliz.,  Mich.,  3°. 


448  BLESSED  THOMAS  FORD 

Crown  lawyers,  nor  witnesses,  nor  judges  appear  to 
have  been  in  the  least  abashed,  or  to  have  hesitated 
a  moment  about  the  fate  of  the  prisoners.  Indeed, 
among  the  spectators  of  the  trial  was  a  priest  of 
the  name  of  Nicholson,  who  was  able  to  make  a 
declaration  about  Blessed  Thomas  Ford  similar  to 
that  which  had  saved  Collington's  life  ;  seeing  the 
success  of  Mr.  Lancaster's  intervention  he  came 
forward  in  his  turn  to  offer  his  evidence.  But  the  only 
result  was,  that  the  judge  immediately  ordered  his 
arrest  and  committal  to  prison,  where  he  was  well- 
nigh  starved  to  death.  As  to  the  Blessed  Thomas 
Ford,  whether  he  had  been  at  Rheims  or  in  London, 
whether  the  evidence  against  him  was  proved  false 
or  not,  a  traitor  he  was  to  be,  and  so,  with  the 
remaining  five  of  his  brethren  accused  with  him, 
he  received  sentence  of  death  on  November  the  T7th. 
The  execution  of  the  three  martyrs,  Blessed 
Campion,  Sherwin,  and  Briant,  took  place  as  we 
have  seen  on  December  the  ist.  What  the 
principle  of  their  selection  may  have  been,  at  least 
as  regards  the  two  latter,  does  not  appear.  But 
weeks  and  months  went  by,  and  the  rest  heard 
nothing  more  of  their  fate.  The  explanation  of 
this  is  not  difficult.  The  unscrupulous  Ministers 
of  Elizabeth,  unwilling  to  go  on  adding  to  the  odium 
they  had  brought  on  themselves  by  the  martyrdoms 
of  such  men  as  Nelson,  Sherwood,  and  Hanse,  yet 
bent  on  crushing  the  apostolic  movement  of  the 
Seminaries,  adopted  the  expedient  of  a  trumped-up 
conspiracy.  But,  thoroughly  well  informed  as  they 
were,  they  must  immediately  have  become  aware 


BLESSED  THOMAS  FORD  449 


that  their  expedient  had  utterly  failed.  It  was  not 
only  abroad  that  every  Catholic  land  rang  with  the 
story  of  the  sufferers,  who  were  thought  and  spoken 
of  and  outwardly  honoured  on  the  same  footing 
as  the  martyrs  of  old  :  but  in  England  the  general 
conscience  utterly  rejected  the  pretended  plot.  The 
wretched  instruments  employed  as  witnesses,  Sledd, 
Munday,  Caddy,  and  Eliot ;  the  cases  of  Collingtori 
and  Ford,  proved  to  have  been  in  London,  when 
the  story  of  the  plot  required  them  to  be  in  Rheims; 
the  whole  character  and  bearing  of  the  martyrs  and 
their  solemn  protestations,  left  no  doubt  upon  the 
public  mind  as  to  the  merits  of  their  trial  and  the 
cause  of  their  death.  The  state  of  public  feeling 
is  shown  in  various  ways,  but  in  none  more 
plainly  than  by  the  first  publication  put  out  by 
the  Government  in  its  own  defence.  It  is 
called  a  "  Particular  declaration  of  the  traitorous 
affection  of  Campion  and  other  condemned  priests, 
witnessed  by  their  own  confessions,  written  in 
reproof  of  the  slanderous  bookes  and  libels  delivered 
out  to  the  contrary  by  such  as  are  maliciously 
affected  towards  her  Majestic  and  the  State. 
Published  by  authoritie."1  In  this  paper,  Simpson 
says,2  "the  pretended  plot  of  Rheims  and  Rome  is 
prudently  forgotten  "  -the  very  matter  of  the  indict 
ment  on  which  they  were  tried  and  put  to  death  ! 
What  was  to  be  done  then  with  the  eleven 

1  Imprinted  at   London  by  Christopher  Barker,  printer  to  the 
ueene's  most  excellent   Majestie,   An.   Do.  1582,  4to,    14   leaves. 

Printed  in  J.  Morgan's  Phoenix  Britannicus,  p.  481  ;  State  Trials,  vol  i 
p.  1073,  and  Tierney-Dodd,  vol.  iii.  Appendix,  pp.  v.— xvi. 

2  Life  of  Campion,  p.  332. 

DD 


45o  BLESSED  THOMAS  FORD 

remaining  condemned  men  ?  To  discharge  them 
was  to  give  up  the  battle  and  to  acknowledge  that 
the  martyrs  had  been  murdered.  To  execute  them 
on  the  discredited  trial  was  to  court  fresh  odium. 
The  Ministers  reverted  in  fact  to  the  course  that 
had  been  followed  with  the  earlier  martyrs,  Nelson, 
Sherwood,  and  Hanse,  only  in  a  more  elaborate  and 
methodical  way.  A  paper  of  six  questions  was 
drawn  up  and  proposed  to  each  of  the  confessors 
under  sentence  of  death  by  Popham,  the  Attorney 
General,  and  Egerton,  the  Solicitor  General,  with 
two  civilians,  Hammond  and  Lewis.  These  questions 
bring  back  the  argument  from  the  order  of  fact 
to  that  of  belief,  or  rather  of  hypothesis.  The 
martyrs  are  not  allowed  to  declare  that  they  accept 
Elizabeth  as  their  Queen.  There  is  no  question 
as  to  what  they  have  done.  They  are  asked  what 
they  would  hold  or  do  in  certain  contingencies 
and  under  certain  circumstances  which  Catholics 
and  Protestants  were  sure  to  understand  differ 
ently.  The  Government  hoped  by  these  means 
to  cause  our  martyrs  to  be  suspected  of  poli 
tical  and  anti-patriotic  conspiracy,  to  make  them 
odious  by  confounding  their  zeal  for  the  faith  with 
disloyalty  to  their  Queen  and  country,  and  thus 
gradually  to  over-ride  and  pervert  public  opinion 
with  regard  to  them.  Adroit  slander  was  no  less 
powerful  a  weapon  in  such  hands  than  violent 
persecution,  and  the  skilful  use  of  both  combined 
was  in  the  end  but  too  successful.  Here  are  the 
questions  proposed  to  the  martyrs  six  months  after 
their  trial  and  sentence. 


BLESSED  THOMAS  FORD  45I 


"  The  Articles  ministered  to    the  seven  priests    and 
others  with  them,  with  the  answers  of  these  seven  to  the 


same. 


"i3th  May,  1582. 

"  i.  Whether  the  Bull  of  Pius  Quintus,  against 
the  queene's  Majestic,  be  a  lawfull  sentence,  and 
ought  to  be  obeyed  by  the  subjects  of  England  ? 

"  2.  Whether  the  queene's  Majestic  be  a  lawfull 
queene,  and  ought  to  be  obeyed  by  the  subjects  of 
England,  notwithstanding  the  bull  of  Pius  Quintus, 
or  any  bull  or  sentence  that  the  Pope  hath  pro 
nounced  or  may  pronounce  against  her  Majestic  ? 

"  3.  Whether  the  Pope  have  or  had  power  to 
authorize  the  Earls  of  Northumberlande  and  West 
morland  and  other  her  Majestie's  subjects  to  rebell 
or  take  armes  against  her  Majestic  or  to  authorize 
doctour  Saunders  or  others  to  invade  Ireland  or  any 
other  her  dominions,  and  to  beare  armes  against 
her :  and  whether  they  did  therein  lawfully  or  no  ? 

'  4.  Whether  the  Pope  have  power  to  discharge 
any  of  her  highness  subjects  or  the  subjects  of  any 
Christian  prince  from  their  allegiance  or  othe  of 
obedience  to  her  Majestic  or  to  their  prince  for  any 
cause  ? 

"5.  Whether  the  said  doctour  Saunders,  in  his 
booke  of  the  Visible  Monarchic  of  the  Church,  and 
doctour  Bristowe  in  his  booke  of  Motives  (writing 
in  allowance,  commendation  and  confirmation  of 
the  said  bull  of  Pius  Quintus)  have  therein  taught, 
testified  or  maintained  a  truth  or  falsehood  ? 

"6.  If  the  Pope  doe  by  his  bull  or  sentence, 
pronounce  her  Majestic  to  be  deprived  and  no- 


452 


BLESSED  THOMAS  FORD 


lawful  queene,  and  her  subjects  to  be  discharged  of 
their  allegiance  and  obedience  unto  her,  and  after, 
the  Pope  or  any  other  by  his  appointment  and 
authorise,  doe  invade  this  realme,  which  part  would 
you  take,  or  which  part  ought  a  good  subject  of 
England  to  take  ?  "  l 

Of  similar  questions  Blessed  Campion  had  said  : 
"  Since  it  must  be  answered,  I  say  generally  that 
these  matters  be  merely  spiritual  points  of  doctrine 
and  disputable  in  schools,  no  part  of  mine  indict 
ment,  not  to  be  given  in  evidence,  and  unfit  to  be 
discussed  at  the  King's  Bench.  To  conclude,  they 
are  no  matters  of  fact  :  they  be  not  in  the  trial  of 
the  country;  the  jury  ought  not  to  take  any  notice 
of  them." 

And  though  there  are  still  writers,  like  Mr.  Froude, 
who  reject  Campion's  plea,  juster  men  have  come  to 
acknowledge  the  iniquity  of  these  proceedings.  Thus 
Hallam  says  of  Burleigh's  tract,  "  That  any  matter 
of  opinion  not  proved  to  have  ripened  into  an  overt 
act  and  extorted  only,  or  rather  conjectured,  through 
a  compulsive  inquiry  could  sustain,  in  law  or  justice, 
a  conviction  for  high  treason,  is  what  the  author  of 
this  pamphlet  has  not  rendered  manifest."5 
Blessed  Thomas  Ford  replied  as  follows : 

"  Thomas  Forde's  Answere. 

"Thomas  Ford.— To  the  first,  he  saith  that  he 
cannot    answere,   because    he    is   not    privy   to   the 

1  Butler's  Historical  Memoirs,  vol.  i.  p.  200.     Also  Tierney-Dodd, 
vol.  iii.  Appendix,  p.  iv. 

2  Hallam,  Constitutional  History,  vol.  i.  p.  150. 


BLESSED  THOMAS  FORD  453 

circumstances  of  that  bull  :  but  if  he  did  see  a  bull 
published  by  Gregory  the  thirteenth,  he  would  then 
deliver  his  opinion  thereof. 

"To  the  second,  he  sayeth  that  the  Pope  hath 
authoritie  to  depose  a  prince  on  certain  occasions; 
and  when  such  a  bull  shall  be  pronounced  against 
her  Majestic,  he  will  then  answere  what  the  duty  of 
her  subjects  and  what  her  right  is. 

'  To  the  third  he  sayeth,  he  is  a  private  subject 
and  will  not  answere  to  any  of  these  questions. 

"To  the  fourth,  he  sayth  that  the  Pope  hath 
authoritie  upon  certaine  occasions,  which  he  will 
not  name,  to  discharge  subjects  of  their  obedience 
to  their  prince. 

"To  the  fifth,  he  saieth,  that  doctour  Saunders 
and  doctour  Bristowe  be  learned  men;  and  whether 
they  have  taught  truly  in  their  bookes  mentioned  in 
this  article,  he  referreth  the  answere  to  themselves. 
For  himself  he  will  not  answere. 

"To  the  last,  he  sayeth  that,  when  that  case 
shall  happen,  he  will  make  answere,  and  not  before. 

"  THOMAS  FORDE. 
"JOHN  POPHAM.  DA.  LEWIS. 

"THOMAS  EGERTON.        JOHN  HAMMOND."1 

On  the  results  of  this  extra-judicial  examination 
it  was  determined  to  proceed  to  the  holy  priest's 
execution ;  though  indeed  it  would  seem  that  the 
examination  was  made  as  a  public  pretext,  and  the 
execution  had  been  resolved  on  already.  It  is  said 
that  "  whilst  waiting  for  execution,  Mr.  Forde  was 

1  Tierney-Dodd,  iii.  p.  xiii. 


454  BLESSED  THOMAS  FORD 

put  into  irons  during  thirty  days.1  It  was  on  the 
28th  of  May,  I582,2  a  fortnight  after  the  examination, 
that  Blessed  Thomas  Ford,  together  with  two  other 
martyrs,  Blessed  John  Shert  and  Blessed  Robert 
Johnson,  after  so  long  a  series  of  cruel  treatments, 
and  so  much  art  used  to  make  them  confess  the 
feigned  treason  or  deny  their  faith,  were  all  trailed 
upon  hurdles  from  the  Tower  of  London  through 
the  streets  to  Tyburn,  between  six  and  seven  of  the 
clock  in  the  morning.3  A  touching  incident  of  the 
journey  has  been  recorded  for  us  by  a  bitter  enemy, 
the  false  witness,  Munday :  "  All  the  way  as  they 
were  drawen,"  he  writes,  "  they  were  accompanied 
with  divers  zealous  and  godly  men,  who  in  mylde 
and  loving  speeches  made  knowen  unto  them  how 
justly  God  repayeth  the  reprobate  &c.,  .  .  .  among 
which  godly  perswasions  Maister  Sherife  himself 
both  learnedly  and  earnestly  laboured  unto  them, 
«  .  .  but  these  good  endevours  tooke  no  wished 
effect :  their  own  evil  disposition  so  blinded  them 
that  there  was  no  way  for  grace  to  enter. 

"  When  they  were  come  beyond  St.  Giles  in  the 
Field,  there  approached  unto  the  hurdell  one  of  their 
owne  secte  and  a  Priest,  as  himself  hath  confessed, 
who  in  this  manner  spake  unto  the  prisoners, 

1  Note  to  Challoner,  Edition  of  1836,  vol.  i.  p.  37. 

2  The  Privy   Council   sent    a   letter  to  the   Lieutenant   of   the 
Tower  the  previous  day  "  that  whereas  the  Sheriffs  of  London,  &c., 
were  to-morrow    to   receive  certain    Seminary  priests   lately  con 
demned,  he  should  for  certain  good  considerations  stay  John  Harte, 
and  signify  so  much  on  their  Lordship's  behalf  to  the  said  Sheriffs." 
(Dasent,  Acts,  vol.  xiii.  p.  428.) 

3  Bviefe  Historic,  p.  102. 


BLESSED  THOMAS  FORD  455 

*  O,  gentlemen,  be  joyfull  in  the  blood  of  Jesus 
Christe,  for  this  is  the  triumph  and  joye.'  Being 
asked  why  he  used  such  words  he  said  unto  the 
prisoners  againe,  '  I  pronounce  unto  you  a  pardon, 
yea  I  pronounce  a  full  remission  and  pardon  unto 
your  soules.'  Using  these  and  other  trayterous 
speeches,  holde  was  layde  on  him  .  .  .  and  notwith 
standing  such  means  of  resistaunce  as  himselfe 
used,  he  was  delivered  unto  Mr.  Thomas  Norris, 
Pursuivante,  who  brought  him  unto  Newgate,  wher 
he  confessed  unto  him  that  he  was  a  priest." 

When  the  procession  reached  Tyburn,  "  first 
Mr.  Forde,"says  the  Bricfc  Historic,  "being  set  up  in 
the  cart,  blessed  himself  with  the  sign  of  the  Cross, 
being  so  weak  as  he  fell  down  in  the  cart ;  and 
after  he  was  up,  he  said,  '  I  am  a  Catholic  and  do 
die  in  the  Catholic  religion.'  And  therewith  he  was 
interrupted  by  Sheriff  Martin,  saying,  '  You  come 
not  hither  to  confess  your  religion,  but  as  a  traitor 
and  malefactor  to  the  Queen's  Majesty  and  the 
whole  realm,  moving  and  stirring  of  sedition  ;  and 
therefore  I  pray  you,  go  to,  and  confess  your  fault, 
and  submit  yourself  to  the  Queen's  mercy,  and  no 
doubt  but  she  would  forgive  you.' 


1  A  breefe  and  true  report  of  the  Execution  of  certaine  Traytours  at 
Tiborne  the  xxviii  and  xxx  dayes  of  Maye,  1582.  Gathered  by  A.M.  who 
was  there  present.  (Reprinted  in  Downside  Review,  December,  1891, 
vol.  x.  no.  3,  p.  215.)  Bitterly  hostile  as  this  narrative  is,  it  gives  a 
most  striking  confirmation  of  the  fidelity  of  the  Catholic  Acts. 
The  dedication  is  to  Alderman  Richard  Martin,  then  sheriff,  and 
from  it  we  learn  that  Munday,  who  had  been  a  witness  at  the  trial, 
was  brought  to  the  place  of  execution  expressly  that  he  might  be 
confronted  with  the  martyrs  before  the  populace. 


456  BLESSED  THOMAS  FORD 

"  Whereunto  Mr.  Ford  answered,  '  That  supposed 
offence  whereof  I  was  indicted  and  condemned  was 
the  conspiring  of  her  Majesty's  death  at  Rome  and 
Rhemes,  whereof  I  was  altogether  not  guilty  :  for 
the  offence  was  supposed  for  the  conspiring  the 
Queen's  Majesty's  death  in  the  22nd  year  of  her 
Majesty's  reign  ;  at  which  time  I  was  in  England 
remaining,  and  long  before  that.1  For  I  have 
remained  here  for  the  space  of  six  or  seven  years, 
and  never  during  that  time  departed  this  realm ; 
whereof  I  might  bring  the  witness  of  an  hundred, 
yea,  of  five  hundred  sufficient  men,  and  had  there 
upon  been  discharged  at  the  bar,  if  I  would  have 
disclosed  their  names  with  whom  I  had  been. 
Which  I  did  forbear  only  for  fear  to  bring  them 
into  trouble.'  Then  Sheriff  Martin  said,  '  Here  is 
your  own  handwriting,  with  the  testimony  of  wor 
shipful  men,  as  the  Queen's  attorney,  Dr.  Hammond, 
Dr.  Lewis,  and  others ;  and  if  that  will  not  serve, 
here  is  one  of  your  own  companions  (Munday)  that 
was  the  Pope's  scholar,  to  testify  your  offence/ 
Mr.  Ford  answered,  '  That  notwithstanding,  I 
am  altogether  not  guilty,  whatsoever  you  have 
written.' 

"  He  continued  for  the  most  part  in  prayer 
secretly  to  himself,  during  the  time  that  the  sheriff 
or  any  other  spoke  to  him.  Then  was  a  scroll  of 
his  examination  (of  which  we  have  spoken  above), 
read  by  a  minister.  To  some  articles  he  said 
nothing,  but  to  others  he  said  that  the  Pope  for 

1  "Neither  was  he  ever  at  Rome  or  Rhemes  in  all  his  life." 
(Brief e  Historie,  marginal  note,  p.  102.) 


BLESSED  THOMAS  FORD  457 

some  causes  may  depose  a  Prince  of  his  estate  and 
dignity,  and  discharge  the  subjects  of  their  duties 
and  allegiance,  'for'  (quoth  he),  'this  question  was 
disputed  thirteen  years  since,  at  Oxford,  by  the 
divines  there  before  the  Queen's  Majesty,  and  there 
it  was  made  and  proved  to  be  a  most  clear  case, 
in  her  own  presence.'  And  here,  being  interrupted, 
Munday,  the  Pope's  scholar,  being  called  as  a 
witness,  said  that  Ford  was  privy  to  their  con 
spiracies  ;  but  was  not  able  to  affirm  that  ever  he 
saw  him  beyond  the  seas.  This  his  assertion 
Mr.  Ford  utterly  denied  upon  his  death,  and  being 
asked  what  he  thought  of  the  Queen's  Majesty,  and 
withal  willed  to  ask  her  and  the  whole  realm  which 
he  had  stirred  to  sedition  forgiveness,  he  said  that 
he  acknowledged  her  for  his  sovereign  and  Queen, 
and  that  he  never  in  his  life  had  offended  her.1  And 
so  praying  secretly  he  desired  all  those  that  were 
of  his  faith  to  pray  with  him,  and  ended  with  this 
prayer,  Jem,  Jesu,  Jem,  esto  niihi  Jews"  and  in  a 
few  moments  more  Jesus  had  received  him  into  the 
glorious  ranks  of  His  martyrs. 

1  Munday's  version  is:  "  '  I  have  not  offended  her  Majesty,  but 
if  I  have,  I  ask  her  forgiveness  and  all  the  world,  and  in  no  other 
treason  have  I  offended  than  my  religion,  which  is  the  Catholic 
faith  wherein  I  will  live  and  die.  And  as  for  the  Queen's  Majesty, 
I  do  acknowledge  her  supremacy  in  all  things  temporal,  but  as 
concerning  ecclesiastical  causes  I  deny  her  ;  that  only  belongeth  to 
the  Vicar  of  Christ,  the  Pope.'  In  brief,  he  granted  to  nothing, 
but  showed  himself  an  impious  and  obstinate  traitor,  and  so  he 
remained  to  the  death,  refusing  to  pray  in  the  English  tongue, 
mumbling  a  few  Latin  prayers,  desiring  those  that  were  ex  domo  Dei 
to  pray  for  him,  and  so  he  ended  his  life."  He  was  allowed  to  hang 
till  he  was  dead. 


458  BLESSED  THOMAS  FORD 

In  a  paper  among  Father  Grene's  transcripts  at 
Stonyhurst1  we  find  the  following  story. 

"The  28th  of  March  [May],  1582,  were  martyred 
at  London  Mr.  Thomas  Ford,  and  Mr.  John  Shert, 
and  Mr.  Robert  Johnson,  priests.  The  same  day 
they  appeared  to  Mr.  Rowsam  [i.e.,  the  Ven.  Stephen 
Rowsham,  Mart.]  in  the  Tower,  and  let  him  feel 
what  pains  their  martyrdom  had  been  to  them,  and 
with  what  joy  they  were  rewarded." 

"  In  the  eyes  of  the  unwise  they  seemed  to  die, 
but  they  are  in  peace." 

E.  S.  K. 
ED. 


AUTHORITIES. — Brief e  Historic,  pp.  102 — 104  ;  Concertatio, 
ff.  86,  87.  The  subject  of  the  "  Six  Questions  "  is  admirably 
treated  by  Allen  in  the  Modest  Defence,  pp.  62 — 71.  See  also 
The  Month  for  November,  1904. 

PORTRAIT. — See  below. 

RELICS. — In  the  English  Convent  at  Bruges  (Priory  of 
Nazareth  of  the  Austin  Canonesses  of  the  Lateran)  is  pre 
served  a  finger  of  Blessed  Thomas  Ford.  It  is  white  as  wax, 
and  is  set  in  a  small  silver  handle,  and  kept  in  a  glass  tube. 
This  finger  was  taken  over  to  Belgium  by  the  martyr's 
great-nephew,  who  married  and  settled  at  Bruges.  It  was 
given  to  the  convent  by  Sister  Mary  Catharine  Willis,  who 
received  it  from  her  mother,  a  descendant  of  the  family, 
June  14,  1748. 

The  family  also  possessed  the  knife  with  which  the  martyr 
was  quartered,  but  it  is  unhappily  lost.  This  and  the  finger 
are  said  to  have  been  purchased  by  the  martyr's  brother  after 
the  execution. 

1  Printed  in  Pollen's  Acts  of  English  Martyrs,  p.  334. 


BLESSED  THOMAS  FORD  459 

The  relic  is  certified  to  have  worked  two  remarkable 
cures. 

The  picture  of  the  martyr  came  with  the  relic,  and  was 
also  a  family  heirloom.  It  has  the  following  inscription; 
Thomas  Fordus,  Exoniensis,  Coll.  Angl.  Duaci  Sacerdos,  missus 
in  Angliam,  1576;  passus  Londini,  28  Maii,  1582. 

There  is  a  scroll  painted  in  the  picture  with  the  words, 
Catholicus  ego  sum  et  in  Catholica  fide  moriar,  and  Jesu,  Jesu, 
Jesu,  esto  mihi  Jesus  ;  his  dying  words. 

There  is  also  a  piece  of  skin  (apparently  from  the  inside 
of  the  hand,  showing  the  wrinkles  and  furrows  of  the  skin) 
preserved  at  Stonyhurst,  which  is  labelled  B.  Ffordei  vel  Shertei 
vel  Roberti  Jonsoni,  it  not  being  certain  to  which  of  the  three 
fellow-martyrs  it  really  belonged. 

Two  small  fragments  of  this  relic  are  in  Father  Morris's 
collection  at  Farm  Street. 

At  Archbishop's  House,  Westminster,  is  also  a  small  relic 
which  may  belong  to  any  of  the  three  martyrs,  and  is  labelled, 
Ford,  Shert,  Johnstone  incertum  cujus.  It  is  a  particle  of  some 
hard  and  dark  substance. 


XIV. 
THE   BLESSED   JOHN   SHERT, 

SECULAR   PRIEST. 

Tyburn,  28  May,  1582. 

THE  day  which  had  been  honoured  by  the  martyr 
dom  of  Blessed  Margaret  Plantagenet  forty-one  years 
earlier,  and  now  by  that  of  Blessed  Thomas  Ford, 
was  still  further  glorified  by  the  passion  of  his  two 
companions.  Of  these,  the  first  to  suffer  was  John 
Shert.  He  was  a  native  of  Cheshire,  and,  according 
to  Dodd,  is  said  to  have  been  born  at  Shert  Hall, 
near  Macclesfield.  He  was  sent  to  Oxford,  where 
he  entered  Brasenose  College,  and  took  his  degree 
in  1566. l  On  leaving  the  University,  Wood  says 
he  became  a  schoolmaster  in  London  and  was 
"  much  resorted  to  for  his  excellent  way  of  teaching  : 
but  being  a  Catholic  at  heart,  left  his  country  and 
went  to  Douay."2  We  may  gather  that  his  life  in 
London  brought  him  both  honour  and  profit.  But 
for  the  sake  of  the  " pearl  of  great  price"  he  gave 
up  all  he  had,  and  became  a  penniless  exile.  From 
the  Douay  Diary  we  learn  that  he  did  not  at  once 

1  John    Shirte,   or    Sherte,    sup.   for    B.A.    May    8,    1566,   adm, 
January   17,  1566-7,  disp.  February  4. 

2  Fasti  Oxonienses,  January  17,  1566. 


BLESSED  JOHN  SHERT  461 

seek  admission  to  the  Seminary  on  his  conversion, 

but   entered   the   service   of  Dr.  Stapleton,   perhaps 

as    a    secretary   or    amanuensis.1      But    at    last    he 

either    became    clear    about    his    vocation    to    the 

pr